Blood Exports In
'Mad Cow' Scare

The Daily Telegraph - Australia
LONDON (AFP) -- Britain has reportedly exported to "at least 11 countries" blood products at risk of contamination with the prion responsible for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of mad cow disease.
The blood plasma products resulted from donations by nine people who later died of the incurable disease, The Times said today.
The countries involved were named as Singapore (three samples sent), Russia (23), Oman (100), Morocco (100), Egypt (144), the sultanate of Brunei (400), Turkey (840), India (953), Dubai (2400), Brazil (44,864) and Ireland (83,500).
Five of those countries had been warned by Britain's sanitary services, The Times said, but the daily did not know which.
Last week letters went out to 6000 patients in Britain, most of them haemophiliacs, who may have been exposed to vCJD through blood plasma products.
According to health ministry figures, 141 people are known to have died in Britain from vCJD, a spongy deterioration of the brain causing personality change, loss of body function, and eventually death.
Cases of the disease peaked in 2000, when 28 deaths were reported. Since then the trend has been generally downward, with 17 cases in 2002 and 18 last year.
In May, government-funded scientists estimated 3800 people in Britain could be harbouring the human form of mad cow disease without knowing it.
Copyright 2004 Nationwide News



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