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Frequent Travelers Who Donate Blood or its Components: Travel Information for You

Frequent Travelers Who Donate Blood or its Components: Travel Information for You

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Old Mar 30, 05, 1:29 pm
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Frequent Travelers Who Donate Blood or its Components: Travel Information for You

As a frequent traveler who regularly donates platelets every two weeks whenever possible, I am usually questioned whether I have been outside of the United States and — if so — how much time I spent and in which countries did I spend that time.

I found out this morning that if I go to Asunçion, which is the capital of Paraguay, I can still donate blood. If I go to Iguazu Falls, which is located near the confluence of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, I can still donate blood. If I fly from Asunçion to Foz de Iguassu, I can still donate blood. However, if I travel by land through Paraguay from Asunçion to Iguazu Falls, I cannot donate blood for an entire year.

This thread is dedicated to FlyerTalk members who donate blood or its components (platelets, red blood cells, plasma, etc.) and need to know information concerning where to visit and still be eligible to donate blood or its components. Any useful information that can be provided in this thread will be helpful.

While the American Red Cross location where I donate platelets could not give me a list or an Internet web site for specific information about what parts of the world would preclude one from donating blood or its components if one visited them, I was told that basically any areas with a history of malaria, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or Mad Cow disease are areas of concern for the American Red Cross. To complicate matters, each area of concern can have different circumstances. I was also advised to refer to the Internet web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.

As people all over the world donate blood and its components, I do not want this thread to become centric to the United States.

Please post in this thread whatever information can be posted pertaining to the rules and restrictions in each nation, country or territory for frequent travelers donating blood or its components.

Hopefully, with the information that will be complied in this thread, frequent travelers will be better informed in deciding where in the world they want to visit while still being able to donate blood or its components. I will attempt to find out information in greater detail and add them to this thread, if I can.

Thank you in advance.
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Old Mar 30, 05, 3:03 pm
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You can add Laos and Cambodia to the list.

I know.

Dan
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Old Mar 30, 05, 3:39 pm
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You can also add England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Channel Islands if you lived there for over 3 months They also exclude virtually all of Western Europe if you'd lived there for more than 6 months (due to mad cow). However, they didn't include Russia! which is ridiculous, as anyone who's ever lived in Russia for any amount of time knows -- there are a lot of products imported from Western & Eastern Europe, including meat products, which carry the same dangers they would in W. & E. Europe! Once I realized all this, I refused to give blood on moral grounds as I felt that if they would have excluded me based on living in W. or E. Europe for 6 months, they should definitely exclude me for living in Russia for that amount of time.

You are not eligible to donate if, since 1980, you :
# Spent a total time of 3 months or more in any of these countries:
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Channel Islands, or

# Spent a total time of 6 months or more in any combination of these countries:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azores, Belarus, Belgium, Boznia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Island, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madeira Islands, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands (Holland), Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Scotland, Slovak Republic (Slovakia), Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican City, Wales, Yugoslavia (includes Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia)

For other blood donation restrictions, see:
http://www.redcross.org/services/bio..._,00.html#trav
Then click on Link "Learn more about vCJD and donation" from the Travel subheading

Last edited by Lindisfarne; Mar 30, 05 at 4:59 pm
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Old Mar 30, 05, 5:14 pm
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Before I went to India early last year, I asked about deferral and they said it would be 6 months. Showed up there 6 months after my return and they said no, it was a year. (I was in Delhi and Jaipur- not hiking in mountains or hanging out at the beaches.) Finally donated again this month.

They also interrogate you on Brazil- Rio is OK, areas near the Amazon aren't.
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Old Mar 30, 05, 6:39 pm
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Anti-malarial meds

You cannot donate blood for - I think - 3 years after taking anti-malarial meds.
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Old Mar 30, 05, 7:02 pm
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At my local blood bank (not affiliated with the Red Cross), they have the European residency restrictions as listed above. They also defer for one year if you have visited locales they consider malarial. After spending a week in Belize last year, I found their process is to consult a 3 ring binder with the affected areas listed. I didn't get to see much of it, but some were entire countries, some regions within countries.

The rule they quoted me was one year, whether or not anti malarial drugs were taken. I'll find out in July if that is still the case.

From experience, Freeport, Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands are not on their list.

These are all for whole blood donations, not sure if they have different rules for components, but since I have only donated whole blood, didn't check otherwise.
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Old Mar 30, 05, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K
You cannot donate blood for - I think - 3 years after taking anti-malarial meds.
They didn't even ask me about anti-malarial meds, which I did take.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 1:37 am
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If you live in Europe for more then 6 months, are you NEVER aloud to donate blood in the US again, or is it a time limit, like 1 year since you've been back?Thanks.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by gate_pourri
If you live in Europe for more then 6 months, are you NEVER aloud to donate blood in the US again, or is it a time limit, like 1 year since you've been back?Thanks.
According to my blood bank, it's permanently disqualifying. The ban only applies since 1980, I lived in Germany for a couple of years in the 70's, and that doesn't affect my ability to donate. That said, the rules could change in the future as more info becomes known, or better tests are developed.

Several Rx drugs are permanently disqualifying also.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 12:08 pm
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Add Ixtapa/Ziuhatenejo

Add this destination to your list. Even spending a half day at Z's beach off a cruise ship last month stopped my donations for a full year. I was aware of all Mexico 'ruins' areas, but this was a new one for me. I have rare blood, so I'll check back before I schedule more travel.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by moondoggie
I have rare blood, so I'll check back before I schedule more travel.
Welcome to FlyerTalk, moondoggie!

That is another conundrum that frequent travelers who donate blood or its components must face: do we choose traveling to certain areas around the world, or do we choose donating blood or its components by bypassing or delaying our visits to those areas of the world?

It is unfortunate that we sometimes face this decision, but I suppose that the choice depends on the circumstances of the situation in which we may find ourselves at the time...
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Old Mar 31, 05, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by moondoggie
Add this destination to your list. Even spending a half day at Z's beach off a cruise ship last month stopped my donations for a full year. I was aware of all Mexico 'ruins' areas, but this was a new one for me. I have rare blood, so I'll check back before I schedule more travel.
Weird - I had no problem after traveling to this area. Granted, it was 5 years ago, so maybe somethnig has changed.

The blood banks in Chicago have changed to a "do-it-yourself" questionnaire (instead of having staff go through each question) and I was caught off guard when the new questionnaire asked about travel for the past 5, rather than 3, years.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 6:45 pm
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Originally Posted by polkacat
Weird - I had no problem after traveling to this area. Granted, it was 5 years ago, so maybe somethnig has changed.

The blood banks in Chicago have changed to a "do-it-yourself" questionnaire (instead of having staff go through each question) and I was caught off guard when the new questionnaire asked about travel for the past 5, rather than 3, years.
Last time I gave (last July), the Central Fla. Blood Bank only asked about travel for one year, other than the Europe restriction, which was listed as a separate item.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Lindisfarne
# Spent a total time of 6 months or more in any combination of these countries:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azores, Belarus, Belgium, Boznia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Island, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madeira Islands, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands (Holland), Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Scotland, Slovak Republic (Slovakia), Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican City, Wales, Yugoslavia (includes Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia)

For other blood donation restrictions, see:
http://www.redcross.org/services/bio..._,00.html#trav
Then click on Link "Learn more about vCJD and donation" from the Travel subheading
This is interesting. I guess the 6 months or more would not have to be all at one time? If you took 13 two-week trips to Europe, which wouldn't be that unlikely to do since 1980, then would you also be disqualified?
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Old Mar 31, 05, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by gate_pourri
If you live in Europe for more then 6 months, are you NEVER aloud to donate blood in the US again, or is it a time limit, like 1 year since you've been back?Thanks.
Based on my every-8-week-visit to the local donation office, I believe the window is 6 months between 1980 and 1996. After 1996 is apparently ok.
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