I had mononucleosis 40 years ago. Can I donate blood?

See query.

  1. I don’t remember what type of mono I had–if that’s an issue–except the doctor was amazed my spleen hadn’t ruptured. (Does that even make sense? Could be false memory…)

  2. Another possibly false memory: years ago I volunteered to donate, and was told I can’t because of that old infection.

I’ve spent time at the Red Cross blood-donor site, and they don’t go there.

Absolutely. AFAIK The only limitation is if you have major complications from it and/or currently infected. Not sure about RED CROSS but local blood banks and the like absolutely will. I suppose having the virus free floating around still could be an issue for the Red Cross for some reason but it also comes with antibodies to keep it in check.

If you don’t see it mentioned on the donation guidelines page, it’s nothing to worry about. There’s a handful of diseases and a handful of medications that will preclude you from donating right off the bat. Then some conditions (pregnancy, underweight, etc) and life circumstances (having had gay sex, having used needles, etc) that are in the pre-donation questionaire that could keep you from donating. But Mono is not anywhere on those lists.

My dad had malaria in 1970 and he admitted it and they let him donate like 10 years ago. No way they’re stopping people who had mono.

I had mono 33 years ago, while I was in college. I’ve given blood a dozen times or so in the last decade, through several blood-collection companies, including the Red Cross, and while they do ask you a number of screening questions about diseases and riskier behaviors (i.e., sharing needles), I don’t remember ever seeing a question along the lines of “have you ever had mononucleosis;” nor have I ever had any reports back from them about any encountered issues with my blood (though I don’t know if that’s even something that they do).

I had mono in college and was able to donate blood until they discovered I DIDN’T have Hep-C.

The test was “inconclusive,” and that’s not good enough.


Wait…holy shit talk about fake memory: it was something hepatitis…hepatitis mononucleosis, or mononucleosis hepatitis… I was completely yellow.
Does that make any sense? Is that even a thing? I think I was told once there’s mono, and there’s hep, and I just gave the whole thing up and figured I wouldn’t volunteer. (Although I tried anyway on 9/11, but they stopped tak8ng donations by the time I got there so I never found out the med stuff.)

More memory: somebody told me I think “there’s good hepatitis and there’s bad hepatitis” and I think saying that if I had had the “good” one I could donate.

A quick bit of googling indicates that it’s possible for mononucleosis to trigger acute hepatitis (which is, I think, different from other forms of hepatitis, like hepatitis C).

I don’t know about mono, but fwiw they still won’t let me donate because I lived in the U.K. at the time of the mad cow disease scare.

Two of my best friends grew up in Dublin, and moved to the US in 1992. They, too, are under an indefinite (and, they assume, permanent) ban from donating blood due to mad cow / CJD.

More googling…

“Hepatitis” is a general term for inflammation of the liver. There are several different viruses which specifically cause it (A, B, C, D, and E), but it can be caused by other things, including, on occasion, mono.

It sounds like hepatitis due to mono is a temporary effect. Restrictions on blood donation due to hepatitis seems to be specifically a function of being infected with one of the hepatitis viruses – the B, C, and D varieties can all be transmitted via blood, and hepatitis C, in particular, can often be a chronic (rather than acute) condition, and transmission of it via blood transfusion was a big problem in the past.

More details here: Hepatitis - Wikipedia

I just deleted my response, because in a fit of humility, I realized I’m not a medical professional.
You need to talk to your doctor, see if you have medical records, get any pertinent tests, and talk to trained MDs/nurses, and not rely on advice from a message board (no matter how smartypants).

I was born in the UK in 1960 but didn’t live there after 1965, well before the Mad cow scare. Still, the blood bank that runs the blood drives where I work would not let me donate for many years, from around 2002 until a couple of years ago when I printed out the Red Cross requirements and asked them why they weren’t letting me donate.
“From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK), or
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any country(ies) in the (UK) or France.”

Meanwhile, the blood bank that runs most of the donor centers and drives in our community never had a problem with my donating.

[]Can I donate blood if I have hepatitis?](Can I donate blood if I have hepatitis? | Blood Basics - Sharecare) (can’t find the date) has the following, with a direct link from the Red Cross (although not to that cite itself):
American Red Cross

If you have had hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) caused by a virus, or unexplained jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin), since age 11, you are not eligible to donate blood. This includes those who have had hepatitis with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), or Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), the virus that causes Mononucleosis.
It is acceptable to donate blood if you have had jaundice or hepatitis caused by something other than a viral infection, for example: medications, Gilbert’s disease, bile duct obstruction, alcohol, gallstones or trauma to the liver.
If you have ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, at any age, you are not eligible to donate, even if you were never sick or jaundiced from the infection.
Guidelines on eligibility to give blood change from time to time. The most up-to-date eligibility information can be obtained by contacting the American Red Cross blood center nearest you.

So, after looking around more: Epstein-Barr virus/mono without liver affected: Yes can donate. Otherwise no.

Needless to say, I don’t understand how the liver and bloodstream, or whatever, is changed as a carrier of a virus because it was temporarily pushed into failed overdrive somehow to cope with a systemic onslaught to begin with.

Thanks to all, especially kenobi for the research.

Interesting, and may be another strike against me. I was in Paris during the weeks when the government went Officially Serious regarding Mad Cow disease, and I could no longer order my usual Steak Tartare. But (some) restaurants started serving Steak Tartare of horsemeat, which actually is better, I think.

Which also reminds me that a long time ago in Israel I ate at a restaurant (in the Golan, I think) which specialized in marrow and fried spinal cord (also quite tasty). Probably had to go out of business.