Russian Man Dies Of CJD - Points To
First Russian Case Of Madcow Disease
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 AFP.
"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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