BSE, Mad Cow, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - Fellow Veterans

Good evening. This particular blog is not really so much about health insurance as about a health issue I only recently discovered. It is directed to my fellow military veterans who served in the UK and/or Europe as well as any of my readers who lived in Europe for an extended period between 1980 and 1996 (between three and six months or more).

I was stationed in Berlin, Germany from 1983-1986 serving with the USAF Electronic Security Command (ESC) as a Cryptologic Slavic Linguist.

We are prohibited from ever donating blood. I had no idea! Apparently anyone who lived or was stationed pretty much anywhere in the UK or most of continental Europe during those years is at risk due to exposure to Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and possible development of vCJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).

There is no "test" for these so the blood banks and Red Cross take the approach of just refusing to avoid any potential future problems. From my reading, the incubation period for these diseases is basically unknown but could be 30 years or longer.

So if you or someone you know is refused the opportunity to donate blood because of having been stationed in the UK/Europe during those periods, that is the reason.

I wonder what my doctor will say when I bring this up on my next office visit?

An article about blood donation and BSE/vCJD

On a side note, those of us stationed in Berlin during the period I was there were also given a 'dose' of radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown (26 April 1986). I left Berlin just three months later.

Dave (


  1. This is such an inspiring post. Kudos to you for putting on spotlight to such diseases that the veterans face.


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