Travel outside the UK can affect whether or not you can give blood. This is because some infections may be caught abroad, usually through mosquito or other insect bites.
Things to consider:
You have to wait 183 days/6 months after visiting a malarial area before you can donate. This applies even if you have taken antimalarial medication.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
Travel to a WNV area between 1st May and 30th November means you have to wait 28 days before you can donate. This is extended to 6 months if you develop mild symptoms whilst there or within 28 days of leaving the risk area.
If you have visited anywhere outside of the UK in the last 12 months it is a good idea to talk to one of our advisors before coming along to give blood
Tropical Viruses (Chikungunya, Dengue or Zika Virus)
Travel to a Tropical Virus Risk area means that you have to wait 28 days before you can donate. This is extended to 6 months if you become unwell during your visit or within 28 days of leaving the risk area.
Special rules apply to people born in, or whose mother was born in South or Central America or who have spent 28 days or more in primitive rural conditions there. Chagas Disease can also be passed on through blood transfusions and from mother to their unborn child. If this applies to you please contact us on 0800 252266 for further assessment.
Viral Haemorrhagic Fever
Viral haemorrhagic fever is a general term for a severe illness, sometimes associated with bleeding, that may be caused by a number of viruses. The term is usually applied to disease caused by Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Rift Valley Fever and Ebola. Donors with a history of viral haemorrhagic fever must never donate. Donors who have visited a risk area are deferred for a period of 6 months.
If you enter the name of the country you plan to visit or have visited here, you can see if you are likely to be deferred or not. This is the current Geographical Disease Risk Index used by all UK Blood Services.
We also ask the following questions:
- Were you born abroad?
- Have you ever lived or worked abroad?
- Have you ever had any illnesses during or after travel abroad?