Blood Of Irish CJD Victim Used
In Making Of 83,000 Doses
Polio Vaccine
DUBLIN (Reuters) - The Irish government played down public fears on Tuesday after it emerged a British national whose blood was used to make polio vaccine administered in Ireland had been diagnosed with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Health Minister Micheal Martin said he had been advised by leading health experts that the risk of contracting variant CJD -- the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease -- from the vaccine was zero. He said that because of the level of dilution of the blood used in the vaccine -- supplied by Evans/Medeva in Britain -- and the purification methods employed, he was "100 percent sure" there was no risk. However, the public had a right to know the information had emerged, he added. Variant CJD has killed more than 80 people in Britain. The blood was one of 22,000 donations used to make a batch of 83,500 doses of polio vaccine administered to some 50,000 children between January 1998 and January 1999, the health ministry said. The product was made specifically for Ireland"s vaccination campaign at that time and was unlikely to have been used elsewhere, it added.

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