DUNKERQUE In a country that has seen a former prime minister stand trial for his alleged mishandling of the threat of HIV contamination of the blood supply, the agency responsible for ensuring the safety of blood products in France — the Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé (AFS-SAPS) — is not taking any chances. Anyone who has spent a year or more in the UK between 1980 and 1996 is now prohibited from donating blood in France.

The ban, which takes effect from this month, is prompted by fears that the infectious agent responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and new variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) — the human form of the disease — can be transmitted through blood. In the US, Canada and Australia, stricter measures are already in place: donors who have been in the UK for 6 months or more can no longer give blood...

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