Blood Donation and Travel
Travel outside the UK can affect whether or not you are able to donate blood. The reason being that some infections caught abroad can be transmitted through blood transfusion. This can have severe consequences e.g. malaria transmitted by blood transfusion is often fatal.
Blood donation guidelines are updated regularly, consequently donors will be asked about their travel history each time they donate. Most people who have travelled abroad will able to donate as usual, however, in some cases donors may have to delay giving blood. For example, travellers to chikungunya virus risk areas must wait 4 weeks after return before donating, however, if they have displayed any symptoms of chikungunya virus infection, they must wait 6 months before donating.
Additionally, for some infections, particularly malaria and West Nile Virus, blood tests may be carried out to allow the donor to give blood sooner.
The Scottish Blood Transfusion Service have produced an advice leaflet: Travel and blood donation
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have a database where donors can find out if their travel history has affected their suitability to donate: NHSBT Country Database
The timeframe in which a donor has received certain vaccinations may affect their ability to donate. Donors who have received vaccinations within 2 months of planned donation may wish to discuss this with a blood transfusion advisor before attending.
Donor Selection Guidance
These guidelines apply for the NHS Blood and Transplant (England), the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service and the Welsh Blood Service. The most recent version of these guidelines can be found at: Donor Selection Guidelines
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