The Department of Health (DOH)renewed its call yesterday for people who have lived in the UK since the outbreak of "mad cow"disease in 1980 to refrain from giving blood.
The department reissued its directive following a report in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday which said Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and People First Party Legislator Daniel Hwang (黃義交) have given blood despite a ban the DOH enacted in March last year.
The ban states that anybody who lived in the UK for more than three months since 1980 or had received a blood transfusion in the UK should not give blood. Those who have lived in Europe for a five years or more after 1980 are also barred.
Hu gave blood at a publicity event in February while Huang did so at a Rotary Club event "last summer," the China Times said.
Both Hwang and Hu told the China Times that they were unaware of the rules at the time they gave blood and that they would refrain from doing so in the future.
Hu criticized the DOH for not publicizing the ban sufficiently.
Although he did not comment on Hu and Huang's donations, Lin Min-chang (林敏昌) of the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation, said yesterday that blood donors are given a lengthy questionnaire to ensure that they are suitable candidates, followed by an interview with a nurse to make sure they have understood the questions.
"We can only go by what the donor tells us, making the rules impossible to enforce 100 percent," Lin said. "We can only call upon those who give blood to keep in mind that they are doing so to help others, not to harm others."
Unlike those who know themselves to be at HIV positive, there is no penalty involved for those people who lived in the UK or Europe during the "mad cow" crisis but give blood anyway.
The director of the DOH's Bureau of Medical Affairs, Hsueh Jui-yuan (
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