(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has approved a change in the local blood donor eligibility policy following a review of the potential risk posed by people who had visited or lived in countries affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as “mad cow disease”. This means people who lived in Britain between 1980 and 2001 or who had received a blood transfusion in the UK from 1980 onwards can now give blood here.
This new policy, announced by Health Minister Sabrina Turner in the parliament on Friday afternoon, takes immediate effect. She explained that an assessment of the current risk, along with existing controls for blood donors, allowed several countries to revisit similar policies.
While humans cannot contract BSE, eating beef from a cow that has BSE can trigger the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), which causes progressive and ultimately fatal brain damage.