European ME Alliance – Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
European Ban on Blood Donation from ME/CFS Patients Demanded by European ME
European ME Alliance,
Alle 5, st 3, 9500 Hobro, Denmark
4th December 2010
Contamination Risk to Health of Millions of European Citizens
The European ME Alliance (EMEA) is calling on Europe’s health ministers to
initiate an immediate Europe-wide prohibition of blood donation from people who
have been diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS).
This follows the decision by the UK government to issue a permanent, lifetime
ban for all ME patients (including those who have “recovered”) from giving blood.
The Alliance has also written directly to the European Health Commissioner
urging him to enforce such a ban.
The UK ban follows similar action from Canada, Australia and New Zealand while
American Association of Blood Banks has advised its membership to actively
discourage potential donors who have been diagnosed with ME/CFS from donating
blood or blood components.
the National Blood
Transfusion Services of Malta have been deferring donors permanently if they
have a history of ME/CFS and the Belgian Red Cross has for some time refused to
accept ME/CFS patients as blood donors.
EMEA believe such a prohibition is not only wise but is a necessary and urgent
action that needs to be taken until more research can be performed. Otherwise
there is a great risk to the safety of blood supplies and to the health of
citizens within Europe.
The reason for banning blood donations from patients diagnosed with
ME/CFS is, in EMEA’s view, clearly a consequence of biomedical research which
has shown that there is a possible infectious virus which may be transmissible
Since research published in Science magazine in October 2009 by the Whittemore-Peterson
Institute, the National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic showed the
possibility of a link between ME/CFS and a
leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) further research groups are now actively
engaged in replication and validation studies.
EMEA have also suggested that European health ministers convene in London in May
2011, at the time of the 6th Invest in ME International ME/CFS
Biomedical Research Conference, in order to meet with the leading experts and to
hear of the latest biomedical research into ME/CFS and experiences in diagnosing
and treating this disease.
ME/CFS is categorised by the World Health Organisation as a neurological disease
and affects millions of Europeans.
The European ME Alliance (EMEA) is a grouping of European organisations that are
involved in supporting patients suffering from ME/CFS and campaigns for
biomedical research to provide treatments and cures for ME. The Alliance
currently consists of members from Belgium, UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark and hopes shortly to increase their
representation across Europe.
The European ME Alliance believes that the seriousness of this situation and the
risk to the public warrants an immediate prohibition of blood donation from ME/CFS
patients in order to ensure that wider transmission and infection may be