Canada’s blood donor form now asks if you’ve ever worked with monkeys

The Canadian blood donor form has a new question, “Have you, in your past or present job, taken care of or handled monkeys or their body fluids?” The Canadian Press reports that it’s being used as a precautionary measure to avoid the Simian Foamy Virus (SFV), thought to be contracted through bites and scratches from monkeys, chimpanzees, and baboons (which is interesting since they sum up these primates as “monkeys” in the form’s question).

Doris Kaufmann of the Canadian Blood Services, Calgary Office:

“Simian foamy virus is actually considered a retrovirus. Retroviruses that are known to affect humans do include HIV and others that we routinely test for.”

While there are no known cases of humans becoming sick from SFV, the precaution is taken in the event that the disease has a lengthy incubation period. The new question is estimated to eliminate less than 1,000 potential donors – a lower cost than testing all donated blood for the virus.

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