- MURMANSK (Agence France Presse)
The suspected death here of a 29-year-old man from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
(CJD) could be the first Russian case linked to mad cow disease, medical
authorities said Monday.
- The victim, a merchant seaman from Murmansk, northern
Russia, died from the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE),
also known as "mad cow" disease, a senior medical official told
- "It is not the first case of CJD in Russia,"
said the Murmansk region's chief medical officer, Andrei Cherniyev, who
stressed that the brain-wasting disease could be contracted in other ways
apart from eating contaminated beef.
- "But the exceptional fact of this particular case
is the relative youth of the victim, because the average age of people
who have died from this disease is much older," he added.
- However, a spokeswoman for the Murmansk region's epidemiological
center cautioned that the victim's death did not necessarily signify that
BSE had infected Russian herds.
- "Even if one accepts the hypothesis that death was
caused by eating contaminated food products, one would have to take into
account the fact the victim was a sailor and therefore could have been
contaminated abroad," said Svetlana Chemakina.
- Both officials emphasized that it was "impossible
to confirm that the death was linked to mad cow disease."
- Russia's ministry of agriculture announced last week
that it was monitoring recent cases of BSE reported in Poland and Germany
but had yet to make any decision on banning beef imports from those countries.
- Russia has already banned beef imports from Britain and
Portugal, as well as from certain parts of France and Ireland. ((c) 2000
Agence France Presse)
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