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Estimating blood donor loss due to the variant CJD travel deferral.

  • Author(s): Murphy, Edward L
  • David Connor, J
  • McEvoy, Patrick
  • Hirschler, Nora
  • Busch, Michael P
  • Roberts, Paula
  • Nguyen, Kim-Ank
  • Reich, Pascale
  • et al.

BACKGROUND: The FDA recommended new travel deferrals in May 2002 to prevent the potential transmission of variant CJD (vCJD). The predicted impact of such deferrals on the blood supply was controversial. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We distributed anonymous, self-administered questionnaires to donors over 2 weeks in April 2002. Two thousand surveys were allocated to each of five geographic groupings of blood centers in the western and central US. Results were analyzed with chi-squared tests and logistic regression. RESULTS: Of 9800 surveys, 7405 (76%) were returned and analyzed. Overall, 257 (3.47%; 95% CI, 3.05-3.89) donors responding to the survey met the expanded May and November 2002 FDA vCJD travel criteria for deferral. Deferral rates ranged from 1 percent or less in Northern and Southern centers, 3 to 4 percent in San Francisco, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona, to over 13 percent in El Paso, Texas (p < 0.0001). Service at a European military base was the most common reason for deferral, whereas in San Francisco most deferrals were for UK and European travel or residence. The vCJD deferral was also associated with ages 30 through 49 years and with male gender. During June through September 2002, observed deferral rates were 1.6 percent at the same centers. CONCLUSIONS: Predicted deferrals due the new vCJD travel criteria depend upon the number of military donors at a blood center, as well as on the age and gender of donors. Actual deferrals were lower than predicted by an anonymous survey.

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