CJD Death Toll Being
Played Down
The Journal UK
The number of people dying from CJD could be greater than believed because doctors are fearful of carrying out post-mortems following high-profile hospital scandals, an expert warned yesterday.
Dr Roland Salmon, of the communicable diseases surveillance centre in Cardiff, said doctors were increasingly reluctant to demand post-mortems following the cases at Bristol and Alder Hey hospitals where thousands of organs were removed from babies' and young children's bodies without their parents' knowledge.
And he said that meant some CJD deaths could be going "half-diagnosed".
"People might die of dementia but we might not know what the cause of that dementia might be - is it Alzheimer's disease or is it CJD?" he said.
"Cases could be accumulating, particularly among the elderly, and we have no way of knowing."
There have been 87 probable or confirmed cases of CJD in the UK to date.
Speaking after giving evidence to the Welsh Assembly's health and social services committee, Dr Salmon said: "There has been a general cultural shift.
"People are more concerned to look after their loved ones' body parts.
"I don't think that has been helped by some of the circumstances that have surrounded some very conspicuous cases like Alder Hey and Bristol."
He said people had to realise that post-mortems were legitimate practice.

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