- TORONTO -- Hema Quebec and Canadian Blood Services have asked hospitals
to quarantine potentially tainted blood products until at least Monday.
- The products, made by Bayer in the United
States, may contain plasma from an American donor who is infected with
the Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. It's a deadly neurological disorder, the
human strain of the so-called mad cow disease.
- Hema Quebec says there's no proof the
disease can be passed on through blood, but it says Health Canada is taking
precautions just in case.
- Dr. Mindy Goldman said the American donor
gave plasma at least 100 times during the past two years. Because donations
are pooled and divided up to make blood products, one donor could theoretically
infect the whole batch, she said.
- "Just because there haven't been
any cases doesn't mean one can say there never will be any or that we're
100 per cent sure that there can't be transmission," Goldman told
- The Canadian Hemophilia Society is glad
the blood agencies are being vigilant, but are concerned the quarantine
could lead to a shortage. "The danger from shortages of these products
is probably greater than the danger from using them," said David
- Health Canada is expected to decide whether
or not to permanently withdraw the products early this week. Officials
are to meet tomorrow with their American counterparts to discuss the issue.
- Meanwhile, a U.S. food and drug administration
committee could decide to ban blood donations from citizens who have recently
lived in Britain. Canadian Blood Services has decided against banning British
donors. But the Americans believe it may be worth considering.
- "Mad Cow" Drug Given to 49
Hong Kong Patients 12-21-98
- HONG KONG (Reuters) -- Forty-nine patients
in Hong Kong may have been given a drug feared to be contaminated with
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), the human variant of "mad cow"
disease, the Hospital Authority said on Friday.
- Five hospitals and a clinic in the territory
would recall 1,217 vials of the drug "Koate HP, Antihaemophilic Factor
VII (Human)" that they had administered to patients since July, the
authority said in a statement.
- The authority, which runs the territory's
public medical services, said the chemical's manufacturer Bayer Corp
was withdrawing the injection drug for hemophiliac patients.
- Bayer had learnt that a donor who had
donated plasma for the manufacture of the product had since been diagnosed
with the "classical" strain of CJD, and was therefore withdrawing
the batch that was produced with the plasma from that donor.
- A total of 1,800 vials of the drug have
been supplied to hospitals and clinic since July. Of them, 1,217 had been
given to 49 patients who might have injected the product.
- The remaining 583 vials had not been
given out, the authority said. Hospitals and clinic would on Saturday
start asking the patients to hand back unused vials. But the authority
stressed "there is no practical risk of transmission of classical
CJD on humans from any blood products including plasma derivatives".
However, it added there was a "very small risk associated with new
variant - CJD".
- CJD has been linked to eating meat contaminated
with bovine spongifrom encephalopathy, known as mad cow disease.