Donor Qualification

Travel

Travelling to certain regions abroad will result in temporary or permanent ineligibility to donate blood. This restriction is based on four criteria:

You will be permanently disqualified as a blood donor if:

  • You spent a cumulative total of three months or more in the United Kingdom between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 1996.
  • You spent a cumulative total of three months or more in France between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 1996.
  • You have spent a cumulative total of five years or more in Western Europe (outside of France and the United Kingdom) between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 2007 inclusively.
  • You spent a cumulative total of six months or more in Saudi Arabia between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 1996.
  • You have received a blood transfusion (whole blood, red blood cells, platelets or plasma) in France, the United Kingdom or another country in Western Europe since January 1, 1980.

United Kingdom

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Channel Islands
  • Guernsey
  • Jersey
  • Isle of Man
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales

France

Except oversea territories, including:

  • French Guiana
  • Guadeloupe
  • Reunion Island
  • Marie Galante
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte 
  • French Polynesia (including Tahiti) 
  • Saint Barthélemy 
  • Saint Martin 
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon 

Western Europe

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Ireland 
  • Switzerland

Questions and Answers

  • vCJD is a degenerative brain disease that is fatal in 100% of cases.
  • vCJD is caused in humans by exposure to "mad cow disease" or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which appeared in the early 1980s. It is likely transmitted to humans through the ingestion of certain contaminated beef products.
  • The epidemiological future of vCJD is still unknown. Only a few cases of transmission of vCJD have been reported following a blood transfusion. Blood products may, therefore, transmit vCJD in humans although the risk is extremely low.
CountriesCumulative length of stay resulting in a permanent exclusion from blood donation
United KingdomThree (3) months or more between 1980 and 1996
Saudi ArabiaSix (6) month or more between 1980 and 1996
FranceThree (3) months or more between 1980 and 1996
Western Europe (outside of France and the United Kingdom)Five (5) years or more between 1980 and 2007

No, the acceptable decrease without placing Québec's blood supply at risk is 3%. Accordingly, Héma-Québec can exclude these donors without any risk to Québec's blood supply.

Cases of vCJD have been noted in several countries, especially the United Kingdom and France. The current working hypothesis is that so-called "mad cow disease" can be transmitted to humans through the ingestion of contaminated meat originating mainly from the United Kingdom. As a precaution, the decision was made to exclude donors who had spent time, during the risk period, in countries that import or consume beef products originating from the United Kingdom (i.e. the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France and Western Europe outside of France and the United Kingdom).

A few other cases have been reported in other countries, notably in Canada and United States, but these cases occurred in people who had stayed in the United Kingdom for extended periods.

Health Canada includes the following countries under the term Western Europe: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland.

In the event you have concerns about your health, we suggest you contact a nurse at Donor Services, who will provide you with all the information necessary to reassure you