FDA lifts 23-year ban on people potentially exposed to mad cow disease

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - ImpactLife, the company that supplies blood to many Eastern Iowa hospitals, said it was facing a blood shortage.

Last week, Public Relations Manager, Kirby Winn, said it was down to a one-day supply of O negative and about 2-3 days of all other blood.

“We’re in the State and County Fair season, and that has the attention and energy of a good number of folks who would otherwise be blood donors,” said Winn.

Winn said he was hoping a new pool of candidates could help bring the number back-up to where it needs to be.

“We don’t often get to say that we’ve opened up or expanded the pool of eligible donors,” he said. “New guidance from the US FDA has allowed us to reinstate more than 5,000 people who wanted to give blood previously, and we had to turn them away because of the fear of mad cow disease.”

Winn said in 1999, the FDA put a halt to people who lived in certain countries for 6-months between the years 1980 and 1996 because of mad cow disease.

“It was putting place by US FDA wanted to keep a very, very high standard of quality and safety within the blood supply,” said Winn.

Those 5,000 people were just the ones who have reached out to donate in the past. He said they hope to reach even more people in order to help keep a steady flow of blood donations.

“We have to increase our appointment schedule so that we can avoid a shortage,” said Winn. “We’ve had a period of ups and downs.”