Parliamentary Questions, 27 January 2010: notification of ME, blood donation by people with ME

Hansard source

David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud in Gloucestershire, asked the Secretary of State for Health two questions on blood donation by people with ME.

In his first question, Mr Drew asked what recent representions he had received on making ME a notifiable disease for the purpose of blood donation.

In a written reply, parliamentary under-secretary of state for health Ann Keen replied.

“The Department has received 31 representations on making myalgic encephalomyelitis a notifiable illness in the last six months. There have also been a number of representations on this subject received by the Chief Medical Officer.”

Mr Drew than asked whether the Health Department had plans to commission and evaluate research on the possible health effects of receiving blood from people with ME.

Ann Keen replied:

“The Department has no current plans to directly commission research on this issue. However, the Medical research Council has designated myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome a priority research area, and will fund proposals of sufficient quality. The UK Blood Services together with the Health Protection Agency are undertaking a study of the prevalence of a rodent virus recently linked to myalgic encephomyelitis, which will be used to inform a risk assessment.

  • MEA note: The ‘rodent virus’ referred to is XMRV ((xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus). The prevalence of this virus in the ME/CFS population is a subject of current, intense international debate. Type XMRV into our search tool to find out more.