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American Red Cross Statement on XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Badger-Hawkeye

December 3, 2010
 

WASHINGTON, Friday, December 03, 2010 — At present, there are no specific federal recommendations regarding deferral of individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or other diseases that have been associated with Murine Leukemia Virus-related virus (XMRV) infection. Nevertheless, in the interest of patient and donor safety, the American Red Cross will defer indefinitely any donor who reveals during the donor interview that they have been diagnosed with CFS.

XMRV infection has been associated in some studies with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, but at the present time these disease associations have yet to be confirmed.

There is currently insufficient data to conclude that XMRV is transmitted through blood transfusion. However, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Task force is conducting research to determine the frequency of the virus in the donor population, whether it is transfusion-transmitted, and whether recipients become infected and develop the disease.

An AABB Interorganizational Task Force is charged with reviewing all available data, making recommendations for further action to assess the risk of XMRV transmission through blood transfusion, develop mitigation strategies as needed, and to provide information for blood donors, recipients and the public.

The AABB Taskforce released Association Bulletin #10-03 in June 2010, recommending that blood collecting organizations — through the use of donor education materials available at the donation site — actively discourage potential donors who have ever been diagnosed by a physician with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), from donating blood or blood components. In addition, any donor with symptoms of CFS would be deferred if, on the day of donation, they respond negatively to the question, "Are you feeling well today?"

The Red Cross has implemented the AABB recommendations and has gone further to implement indefinite deferral for donors who reveal a history of a medical diagnosis of CFS.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.