CJD/Mad Cow - UK To Spend
$300 Million On Surgical
Instrument Risks
LONDON (Reuters) - The British government said on Thursday it will spend $300 million preventing the potential spread of the human form of mad cow disease through contaminated surgical equipment.
The cash will be used to modernise National Health Service sterilisation equipment and buy disposable surgical tools, which scientists say is the most effective way to protect against variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) spreading in hospitals.
On the advice of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), the government will introduce single-use versions of the specialised equipment used for tonsil surgery. The tools are often used on children.
``We have no evidence of any patient being infected with variant CJD in hospital,'' Health Minister John Denham said.
``But while we are still learning about the progress of variant CJD, we should take precautions to reduce the theoretical risk of transmission to patients.''
Scientists said it was still uncertain how many people were currently incubating the brain-wasting disease. Variant CJD has so far claimed more than 80 lives in Britain.

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