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Chronic Fatigue Sufferers May Be Asked to Avoid Donating Blood

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There’s been a flurry of activity by experts trying to suss out if the virus XMRV, which has been associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, poses a threat to the U.S. blood supply.

On Friday, Louis Katz, executive vice-president of medical affairs at Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center in Davenport, Iowa, and a member of the AABB task force studying the issue, gave his own latest assessment of the situation: People who have been diagnosed by a doctor with CFS should not donate blood, at least not at this point. (The AABB is an association that includes the facilities that collect virtually all of the U.S. blood supply.)

Last October, a paper in the journal Science linked XMRV — first discovered in 2006 — to CFS, which affects an estimated 17 million people worldwide. Since then, public health officials have been racing to learn more. Although it still isn’t yet known whether XMRV causes CFS or any other disease, there are concerns that the virus might be transmitted through blood donations.

Friday’s teleconference was held by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Katz said — emphasizing that the AABB task force’s recommendations aren’t out yet and he was speaking for himself — that the latest draft versions recommend to AABB members that potential donors who currently have or have had CFS be advised they should not give blood.
 
 

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