- QUENIBOROUGH, England - A
fifth person has died of suspected new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
(nvCJD) in a small area of Leicestershire. The man, who died on the evening
of 28 Sep 2000 after months of illness, is believed to have been a farm
worker with links to the village of Queniborough, just north of Leicester.
The village is being investigated by the Department of Health over its
high incidence of new variant CJD - the human form of "mad cow disease"
(BSE) - after 4 people living within a 5-mile radius of each other, died
of the disease. Their interim findings will be presented to doctors at
the health authority at the beginning of November.
- A report into the government's handling of BSE (bovine
spongiform encephalopathy) will be published later this month. Experts
investigating the village are looking to see if people in the area are
more susceptible to the disease. The Leicestershire nvCJD "cluster"
was first reported in November 1998, after it claimed 3 lives within 12
weeks in 1998. A 35 year old man from Queniborough, and a 24 year old woman
from nearby Glenfield, died in October. A 19 year old woman, formerly of
Queniborough, had died 2 months earlier in August. A 19-year-old man died
from the disease in May at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and, at the time,
health officials said it was "highly probable" that a 24-year-old
man in the county had also contracted it.
- The investigation into the Leicestershire cluster includes
a large team of officials from bodies such as the National CJD Surveillance
Unit in Edinburgh. They are working with the Department of Health and the
Ministry of Agriculture. The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee,
the official body monitoring the progress of the disease, said in July
 there were 69 known victims of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease
(vCJD) in the UK. The disease can only be identified with absolute certainty
after death. "The number of cases reported now indicates a statistically
significant rising trend of around 20-30% per annum to date," the
- CJD Kills Five Around Village
- By John Scott
- A young farm worker has become the FIFTH person to die
from the human form of mad cow disease around one small village.
- Christopher Reeve, 24 - who worked in quiet Queniborough,
Leicestershire - lost his long battle with the disease last week.
- His parents Tony and Linda were too upset to speak of
the tragedy yesterday.
- But in a death notice they said: "We are heartbroken.
Christopher has passed away peacefully after as much pain as anybody could
- "We watched over him for months and watched him
suffer but in all the times he never complained. He would laugh and joke
and smiled at us right to the end.
- "We keep asking 'Why him?' He was so gentle and
kind and never hurt anyone. We held him in our arms and we wished we could
make him better but it wasn't to be."
- Health experts launched a huge investigation after revealing
in July that four people linked to Queniborough had been killed by CreutzfeldJakob
- Their initial findings into Britain's first cluster of
victims are not expected until November - but there are growing fears they
will be unable to identify a specific source of infection.
- Victim No1 ... Stacey with son Josh
- Prayers were said for the victims at the village's 488-year-old
parish church St Mary's yesterday.
- And afterwards vicar Rev James Ambrose confessed: "The
community is concerned and we are supportive of the families who have suffered
and are suffering from the effect of new-variant CJD."
- Leicestershire's communicable disease consultant Philip
Monk said Christopher's death at his parents' home in nearby Mountsorrel
had been expected.
- And he added: "It's a tragedy for the family and
our thoughts are with them." He said the probe in the cluster was
focusing on food supply.
- The chances of getting the brain disease in a five-year
period should be three in a million.
- But Queniborough, population 1,800, lost its first three
victims in 12 weeks in 1998.
- The first was burger-loving mum-of-one Stacey Robinson,
19, who died shortly after moving from the village.
- Two months later Pamela Beyless, 24, died. She lived
four miles away and was a regular visitor to her grandparents in Queniborough.
- Victim No. 2 ... 24-year-old Pamela
- Shortly after the disease claimed van driver Glen Day,
35, who lived with his parents in Queniborough.
- Five months ago a lad of 19 living near the village also
- A dad-of-two who lives in Queniborough said yesterday:
"Fear hangs over all of us. What makes it so much worse is that this
is an invisible disease. You have no idea who has contracted it or what
the source could be."
- Village butcher David Clarke: "Our sympathies go
out to the families but I am confident the cases are not linked to my shop."
- Village newsagent Munira Aboobakar said: "It is
worrying there does not seem to be any clue to the source."
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