Young UK Woman's Death
Blamed On Mad Cow - CJD
By Valerie Elliott - Consumer Editor
A young woman from Cheshire was named yesterday as the latest probable victim of variant CJD, the human form of BSE.
Kirsty Garven, 20, from the farming village of Waverton, near Chester, died two weeks ago after 14 months of the fatal brain illness which left her unable to eat, speak or walk.
Her parents, Alex, 59, and Jenny, 53, attacked politicians yesterday for not doing more to protect the public. Mrs Garven said: "It's greed and profit. That's why we cannot let them get away with it."
She recalled the image of John Gummer, then Agriculture Minister, feeding his daughter a burger in front of television cameras to persuade people that beef was safe. "I would like to say, 'Excuse me, would you come and see this? This is what it has done to my child.' I cry every day when I think about her," she said.
The couple have no idea how Miss Garven contracted the disease and did not tell her that she had it. For the last seven months of her life she needed 24-hour care. Mrs Garven said: "By the end she was a skeleton. We were watching our child fade away."
Experts in vCJD at the Edinburgh surveillance centre are carrying out tests to confirm that Miss Garven was a victim of the disease. News of the death comes after concern from scientists that cases - 69 deaths so far and seven probable cases, including Miss Garven - are to rise by up to 30 per cent a year. Professor Peter Smith, acting chairman of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, which advises the Government, said this week that he believes that thousands could die from the disease, but he did not believe it would become an epidemic. Normal beef exports from Northern Ireland to the Continent could resume "within weeks" as a result of the low incidence of BSE in the Province, David Byrne, the EC Food Safety Commissioner, said yesterday.
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