Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)

If you lived in the UK, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1996 for a total period of 6 months or more (or received a blood transfusion in these countries at any time after 1/1/80) you will be permanently deferred from donating blood in NZ.


  • Scientific data has shown that some people harbour the infectious agent of the human form of mad-cow disease (vCJD). 
  • As a result, some have developed vCJD and some have accidentally transmitted the disease through blood donations.
  • We now know that some people in the UK may harbour the vCJD infection but have not developed the disease.
  • The only means for avoiding any risk for spreading vCJD by blood transfusion is to stop collecting blood donations from people who have lived in affected countries in the periods listed above. 
  • This approach is used in all developed countries around the world.
  • Currently there are no tests suitable for screening blood donations for evidence of infection with vCJD.  Considerable effort is being made to develop tests, but these are some years away.  In the mean time we'd love for you to spread the word to your family and friends who are eligible.
  • Read more about this in our Brochure. [PDF, 55 KB]


Most people who travel outside New Zealand are still able to donate blood when they return. However, travel to an area where there is a risk of exposure to certain diseases can result in symptomless infection(s) that can be transmitted through blood transfusion.

Go back to the Donating after Travelling tool.

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