John Flood, temporarily at Miami Law School, tries to give blood:
I hand in the forms and a moment later the medic looks glum. Was it because I’d admitted to taking an aspirin that morning? No.
“I have to reject you,” he said. “You’ve been in the UK.”
“So? I come from there.”
“It’s because of ‘mad cow disease’. We can’t risk you.”
LATER NOTE: the Wikipedia entry on Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease has more details of the dangers, and information on bans on blood donors in other countries – Australia, Singapore, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland. In the UK, blood donors may not include those who have had a blood transfusion since 1980:
In 2004 a new report published in the Lancet medical journal showed that vCJD can be transmitted by blood transfusions. The finding alarmed healthcare officials because a large epidemic of the disease might arise in the near future. There is no test to determine if a blood donor is infected and in the latent phase of vCJD. In reaction to this report, the British government banned anyone who had received a blood transfusion since January 1980 from donating blood.