- PARIS (Reuters) - French
authorities said on Tuesday that they would no longer accept blood donations
from people who lived in Britain for over a year between 1980 to 1996 in
order to lessen the risk of a spread of the human version of mad cow disease.
- The measure, which is already in effect in the United
States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Italy and Australia, affects only about
0.7 percent of potential blood donors in France.
- The ban was announced by both the Health Ministry and
the country's blood safety agency.
- They said there was no definitive proof of a risk of
transmission through blood for the deadly, brain-wasting new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob
Disease (nvCJD), for which there is no known cure.
- ``But under the circumstances, we would rather be safe
than sorry,'' health ministry spokesman Patrich Paquet told reporters.
- The nvCJD is the human version of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE which affects cows and which scientists say can spread to people via
- The French statements said only a minority of scientists
believed there was a risk in taking blood donations from people who had
lived in Britain and may have been affected there.
- There have been two recorded fatal cases of nvCJD in
France and a third person is believed to be suffering the disease. At least
80 people have died of the disease in Britain.
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