The FDA has updated its guidance regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad Cow) disease

NEW YORK – Following updated guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), New York Blood Center (NYBC) today announced revised eligibility guidelines for prospective donors. 

In May of 2022, the FDA updated its guidance regarding Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (also known as Mad Cow disease, CJD or vCJD), allowing more people to become eligible to donate blood. 
Changes in vCJD criteria now allow the following groups to donate:

  • People who spent time in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996
  • People who spent time in France and Ireland from 1980-2001, and
  • People who received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom, France, and Ireland from 1980-present

“We are thrilled to welcome newly eligible donors in the fight to save lives,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Vice President at New York Blood Center. “Blood centers across America have struggled to collect enough blood since the pandemic hit. These new guidelines will help ease the shortage by opening eligibility to many potential donors who have long wanted to help.”

After updating computer systems and training protocols, NYBC is now welcoming donors who were previously deferred due to one of the above criteria. NYBC is currently contacting donors with previous vCJD deferrals to inform them of their potential eligibility.

There is no substitute for blood—only eligible donors can help meet the needs of patients in our local hospitals. Giving blood takes less than one hour from start to finish, and a single donation could help up to three patients. Learn more or schedule an appointment to donate at

Some eligibility deferrals related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease remain. To determine eligibility, call 1-800-688-0900 or stop by a convenient donor center or community blood drive and speak with our staff.