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

PROVIDENCE– Following updated guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) is announcing eligibility changes 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. This move will allow more people to become eligible to donate. 

Changes in vCJD criteria now allow the following groups to donate:

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

RIBC has since been working closely with the FDA and other agencies to safely roll out the reinstatement of previously deferred donors. 

“The move by the FDA allows for the opportunity to expand our donor base during a challenging time for our region’s blood supply” said Beau Tompkins, Vice President of Rhode Island Blood Center. “Our type O- and platelet inventory has been critical at times and well below the ideal 5-7 days.”

RIBC has now started the process of reaching out to potential donors who were previously indefinitely deferred due to these regulations. Questions related to CJD may remain on our intake forms for data collection purposes but will not result in a deferral. 

“The patients and hospitals RIBC serves rely on volunteer blood donors for their lifesaving treatments,” said Caitlin Grimaldi-Flick, Marketing and Communications Manager for Rhode Island Blood Center. “We encourage newly eligible donors to roll up their sleeves to donate and help stabilize our blood supply.” 

There is no substitute for blood and it is vital that volunteer blood donors build the lifesaving habit of donating regularly to help patients in our community. It takes less than an hour of someone’s time but can help save up to three lives. 

We encourage anyone who may have a question about eligibility to call our team at 401-453-8307. 

To make an appointment call 401.453.8383 or visit