Living in the British Isles between 1980 and 1996

Those who lived for more than six months in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996 are permanently barred from donating blood in Finland. This restriction is in place due to the risk of transmission of the mad cow disease, or the human variant of BSE (vCJD). The disease can even be transmitted from the blood of an asymptomatic person, and the prion that causes the disease cannot be detected in blood tests.

There have been no cases of vCJD reported in Finland. In the United Kingdom, a total of just under 180 cases of human vCJD have been recorded. In the 1990s, three to four infections likely from blood transfusions were recorded in the country. The risk of mad cow disease is particularly associated with living in the United Kingdom long-term during the risk years of vCJD, or between 1980 and 1996. For this reason, several EU countries have an indefinite blood donation ban in place for those who lived in the UK during the risk years.

Would you like more information? Please call the free information number for blood donors on 0800 0 5801 (Mon to Fri from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

See also: Travelling in UK