Donor Fatigue; July 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by Nina Bai; 1 Page(s)
Scientists may still be debating the role of viruses in chronic fatigue syndrome, but blood banks aren’t taking any chances. Last summer the AABB, a nonprofit that represents blood-collecting organizations, advised people with the disorder, marked by severe fatigue and aches lasting six months or more, to self-defer from blood donation. Last December the American Red Cross went further, banning people who revealed during a predonation interview that they had the syndrome from ever giving blood at its centers.
The cause for this abundance of caution is XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus), a retrovirus that has been associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. In a highly publicized 2009 study published in Science, XMRV was found in 67 percent of patients and 3.7 percent of healthy controls. But subsequent studies failed to find the virus in people with or without the syndrome, suggesting to some that XMRV may be a laboratory contaminant that skewed the initial trial.