Posted on Jun 4, 2015
LTC Stephen F.
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I try to give back to the people of this nation as I am able. I used to donate blood regularly; but because I was stationed in Germany in the early 1980's when some beef in military mess halls came from cows with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) [Mad Cow] I can no longer donate blood because we have become infected with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD); "Mad Cow Disease." I learned recently that people with HIV can now donate blood - per conversation with Red Cross POC, efforts were funded to come up with a way that HIV positive people can donate blood. That saddened me and made me mad. Bovine spongiform can only be tested through autopsy right now. Many of those of us who served in Europe during the latter part of the cold war have not been able to donate blood. I hope that NIH will make in a priority and obtain funding to develop ways to test for bovine spongiform in people through a blood test.
[Note: I updated the question from "veterans" to "Veterans and service members" on June 6, 2015 - 71st anniversary of D Day - Operation Overlord]

[update May 18, 2018] As of 2017, worldwide 230 people, roughly 180 in the UK have been infected with vCJD and 4 people in the USA have been infected.

Mad Cow and VCJD are nervous system diseases which are based on diseased prions [not the car]. Diseased prions binds to proteins and converts them to prions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxojz6grwcU

Thanks to SFC (Join to see) for alerting me that "there is progress in the development of methods to detect misfolded proteins in the bloodstream" I did research and found the following at an NIH site.
As this article informs us there has been progress in control groups testing of "developed blood tests to detect prion." The article states that there are plans to "validate their methods using larger samples sizes."
Hopefully this process will be successful to detect whether or not we have been infected by Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD); "Mad Cow Disease."


"Prion diseases are a group of rare, fatal brain diseases that affect animals and humans. They are caused by normally harmless proteins that become abnormal and form clumps in the brain. One form, called variant CJD (vCJD), is associated with eating meat from cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as “mad cow” disease.

People may have vCJD for years before symptoms—such as depression, hallucinations, moving difficulties, and dementia—appear. These “silent” carriers have small amounts of prions in their bloodstreams and can transmit the disease to others via blood transfusions. The only current method to diagnose vCJD is to perform a biopsy or a postmortem analysis of brain tissue. Thus, a noninvasive test to detect prions in blood is a medical priority.

Two research groups recently developed blood tests to detect prions. The results appeared in a pair of papers published on December 21, 2016, in Science Translational Medicine. One of the groups, led by Dr. Claudio Soto of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

Prions are scarce in the bloodstream and difficult to measure. Both teams developed methods to amplify the prions in blood samples using a technique called protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA). PMCA relies on the characteristic nature of prions to cause certain healthy proteins to clump abnormally and convert into prions.

Soto’s group first combined healthy proteins with known concentrations of infectious vCJD prions. They intermittently agitated these mixtures with sound waves. The agitation helped break the prions into smaller chunks. This increased the number of prions that could then convert healthy proteins into prions. Using this method, the scientists were able to detect more than a billion-fold dilution of prions using an anti-prion antibody.

The scientists next tested whether the technique could be used to detect prions in blood samples from 14 people with vCJD and 153 controls. The controls included healthy people as well as people with different neurological or neurodegenerative disorders, including sporadic CJD, the most common form of CJD. The assay flagged all the vCJD samples correctly.

In the second paper, a French research group described a similar approach testing a blinded panel of blood samples. That team identified 18 vCJD patients in a group of 256 samples.

“Our findings, which need to be confirmed in further studies, suggest that our method of detection could be useful for the noninvasive diagnosis of this disease in pre-symptomatic individuals,” Soto says. Early diagnosis would allow potential therapies to be tested before substantial brain damage occurred. This technique would also allow blood contaminated with prions to be detected and removed from the blood supply.

Both teams are now working to validate their methods using larger samples sizes.
―by Anita Ramanathan
nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/new-method-accurately-detects-prions-blood



~793507:LTC Bill Koski] CW5 (Join to see) MSG Brad Sand SGM Steve Wettstein SSG James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4" SP5 Mark Kuzinski SrA Christopher Wright PO1 William "Chip" Nagel PO1 John Miller SP5 Robert Ruck SPC (Join to see) PO3 Steven Sherrill SN Greg Wright Maj Marty Hogan SCPO Morris Ramsey TSgt Joe C. Cpl Joshua Caldwell SGT Michael Thorin SP5 Dave (Shotgun) Shockley SPC Margaret Higgins
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LTC Stephen F.
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I think those of us stationed in Germany and surrounding countries in the 1980's can become part of Chick-fil-a's "Eat more Chicken" campaign as an angry cow brigade. I recommend and nominate the following RallyPoint members for leadership positions in this angry cow brigade;
I realize some of you were not exposed to Bovine Spongiform infected beef. However I would like to honor you as honorary leaders in this distinguished Mac Cow Brigade of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD) badged military service members :-)
Thanks to SFC (Join to see) for alerting me that "there is progress in the development of methods to detect misfolded proteins in the bloodstream" I did research and found the following at an NIH site.
As this article informs us there has been progress in control groups testing of "developed blood tests to detect prion." The article states that there are plans to "validate their methods using larger samples sizes."
Hopefully this process will be successful to detect whether or not we have been infected by Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD); "Mad Cow Disease."


"Prion diseases are a group of rare, fatal brain diseases that affect animals and humans. They are caused by normally harmless proteins that become abnormal and form clumps in the brain. One form, called variant CJD (vCJD), is associated with eating meat from cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as “mad cow” disease.

People may have vCJD for years before symptoms—such as depression, hallucinations, moving difficulties, and dementia—appear. These “silent” carriers have small amounts of prions in their bloodstreams and can transmit the disease to others via blood transfusions. The only current method to diagnose vCJD is to perform a biopsy or a postmortem analysis of brain tissue. Thus, a noninvasive test to detect prions in blood is a medical priority.

Two research groups recently developed blood tests to detect prions. The results appeared in a pair of papers published on December 21, 2016, in Science Translational Medicine. One of the groups, led by Dr. Claudio Soto of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

Prions are scarce in the bloodstream and difficult to measure. Both teams developed methods to amplify the prions in blood samples using a technique called protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA). PMCA relies on the characteristic nature of prions to cause certain healthy proteins to clump abnormally and convert into prions.

Soto’s group first combined healthy proteins with known concentrations of infectious vCJD prions. They intermittently agitated these mixtures with sound waves. The agitation helped break the prions into smaller chunks. This increased the number of prions that could then convert healthy proteins into prions. Using this method, the scientists were able to detect more than a billion-fold dilution of prions using an anti-prion antibody.

The scientists next tested whether the technique could be used to detect prions in blood samples from 14 people with vCJD and 153 controls. The controls included healthy people as well as people with different neurological or neurodegenerative disorders, including sporadic CJD, the most common form of CJD. The assay flagged all the vCJD samples correctly.

In the second paper, a French research group described a similar approach testing a blinded panel of blood samples. That team identified 18 vCJD patients in a group of 256 samples.

“Our findings, which need to be confirmed in further studies, suggest that our method of detection could be useful for the noninvasive diagnosis of this disease in pre-symptomatic individuals,” Soto says. Early diagnosis would allow potential therapies to be tested before substantial brain damage occurred. This technique would also allow blood contaminated with prions to be detected and removed from the blood supply.

Both teams are now working to validate their methods using larger samples sizes.

―by Anita Ramanathan
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/new-method-accurately-detects-prions-blood
FYI Maj William W. 'Bill' Price Capt Seid Waddell 1stSgt Eugene Harless MSG Andrew White SFC William Farrell SSgt Robert Marx SSG James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4"SCPO Morris Ramsey SPC Robert Skinner SGT Rick AshSGT (Join to see) LTC (Join to see) SMSgt (Join to see) SSG Eddye Royal SP5 Geoffrey Vannerson MSG David LambertLt Col Ruth Sylvester
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PO2 Russell Lincoln
PO2 Russell Lincoln
3 mo
Thanks for the update LTC Stephen F. , I guess my next step is to contact the Red Cross.
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Capt Christian D. Orr
Capt Christian D. Orr
9 d
MOOOOOOO!
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CSM Clifford Fargason
CSM Clifford Fargason
8 d
LTC Stephen F. - New rules on donations:
At this time, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) donor eligibility rules related to vCJD are as follows:

You are not eligible to donate if:

From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in any country in the United Kingdom (UK),

Channel Islands
England
Falkland Islands
Gibraltar
Isle of Man
Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales

From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any of the countries listed below:

France
Ireland
Channel Islands
England
Falkland Islands
Gibraltar
Isle of Man
Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales

You spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 5 years or more from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 2001, in France or Ireland.
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SGT John Wesley
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Germany... I loved donating blood... But my desire to chew grass has hampered me recently...
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SPC Tactical Communications Systems Operator
SPC (Join to see)
4 y
Since being in Illeshiem Germany in 1983-84 I had no idea why all the neighborhood kids had this desire to rush me and push me down. Make total sense now.
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CW5 Bradford ("Boog") Powell
CW5 Bradford ("Boog") Powell
4 y
SPC (Join to see) - Funny..."Cow Tipping" becomes "Craig Tipping". Those dammed Army Brats, No respect for their elders!
Illeshiem was a nice post. I was in Ansbach (Katterbach) in the early 80's. Was back there Nov, 17...much has changed. The downtown Hindenburg Kaserne 1st AD HQ is now a shopping mall! Still a very beautiful area in Bavaria.
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SSG Chris Furney
SSG Chris Furney
>1 y
SGT John Wesley - Doesn't matter- weed is still "federally" illegal (snif). Of course, partying with Ol Vladimir is perfectly in style and evidently doesn't cost one his security clearance like drinking beer- oh wait, I mean like smoking pot would. Never mind that Putin would be a shower of sparks if they'd have let me push the fire button in the 70's... (Assuming he flew into the Fulda Gap when he was a LT). Jacked up world, aint it?
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LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
3 mo
FYI my friend SGT John Wesley it appears the rules for donating blood have changed. Only those living or being stationed in the British Isles, of France or Ireland for 5 or more years are restricted based on living or being stationed in Europe.

Based on the American Red Cross from June 30, 2021
https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical/eligibility-reference-material.html
It seems that being stationed or being a dependent in Germany, Turkey and other duty stations in Europe [outside of the Great Britain, Ireland and France [for 5 years or more] has been lifted from the prohibition for donating blood lists.

At this time, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) donor eligibility rules related to vCJD are as follows:
You are not eligible to donate if
From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in any country in the United Kingdom (UK),
Channel Islands England Falkland Islands Gibraltar Isle of Man Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any of the countries listed below:
France Ireland Channel Islands England Falkland Islands Gibraltar Isle of Man Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
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SFC Mark Merino
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I got told that too. I was stationed in Schweinfurt in 1990 and apparently we ate a lot of angry cows. The only way to test us for exposure is post-mortem? Scary. Moo!
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SP5 Keith Hibler
SP5 Keith Hibler
3 y
I was stationed I. Italy during the early 80’s...I to have been deferred from giving blood. I am O- and was a very regular donor....they need to get this testing figured out...ASAP....
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SGT Artillery Mechanic
SGT (Join to see)
3 y
C7ca1c61
SPC Tobor Dabot - You may be right...does that tube look chewed to you? (Charlie Btry got a bad fuse LOL!)
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LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
3 mo
FYI my friend SFC Mark Merino it appears the rules for donating blood have changed. Only those living or being stationed in the British Isles, of France or Ireland for 5 or more years are restricted based on living or being stationed in Europe.

Based on the American Red Cross from June 30, 2021
https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical/eligibility-reference-material.html
It seems that being stationed or being a dependent in Germany, Turkey and other duty stations in Europe [outside of the Great Britain, Ireland and France [for 5 years or more] has been lifted from the prohibition for donating blood lists.

At this time, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) donor eligibility rules related to vCJD are as follows:
You are not eligible to donate if
From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in any country in the United Kingdom (UK),
Channel Islands England Falkland Islands Gibraltar Isle of Man Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any of the countries listed below:
France Ireland Channel Islands England Falkland Islands Gibraltar Isle of Man Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
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CW3 Darrel Amans
CW3 Darrel Amans
3 mo
In my case it was Chernobyl. I was stationed in West Germany at the time of the incident, 1985-1987. I used to donate to the Red Cross regularly. But when I came back from the tour I was subsequently told Red Cross would no longer accept my blood donations. The RC sated concerns of “possible radiation” issues. I’m not sure if the ban is still in effect, you’d have to follow up withe Red Cross about that.
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