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From: TSS (
Subject: Patients to be told of blood risk 'during the next fortnight'
Date: September 9, 2004 at 9:01 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Patients to be told of blood risk
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 22:53:33 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #########

Patients to be told of blood risk

James Meikle, health correspondent
Friday September 10, 2004
The Guardian

People with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders will be told during
the next fortnight whether they have been exposed to a risk of infection
from the human form of BSE through treatment with plasma and other blood

The government is refusing to say how many people will be notified by
their doctors as officials seek to assess the threat posed by normal
blood transfusions and other products, after strong circumstantial
evidence that two people, one of whom died from vCJD, had been infected
by contaminated blood. The second died from other causes, but had signs
of vCJD, rogue prion proteins in the spleen.

Sixteen people who received "normal" red blood transfusions using blood
from people who subsequently died from vCJD were told of a risk months
ago. But the policy about informing haemophiliacs whose plasma came from
infected pools derived from thousands of people has been patchy.

It remains unclear how many of the thousands of haemophiliacs might have
received contaminated products. Doctors have been asked to check which
of their patients had treatment from batches which included donations
from people who later developed vCJD, and to tell those who did.

John Reid, the health secretary, told MPs yesterday that the risk from
plasma was uncertain, although he suggested it was lower than from whole
blood transfusion, because of the dilution in pools. This is disputed by
some haemophiliacs, many of whom are bitter at having been infected with
HIV and hepatitis C through contamination.

Carol Grayson, founder of Haemophilia Action UK, said that her husband,
Peter Longstaff, had been exposed to contaminated products on 12
occasions after their appeals for him to be put on synthetic
alternatives were rejected.

She was glad the information would now be made available, but it was
"too little , too late". There had been little or no support for
haemophiliacs who were told they might have been put at risk, she said.

Graham Steel, of the Human BSE Foundation, said that health authorities
must investigate whether they needed to go further than removing white
cells from blood, a process introduced in 1999, but which fails to
remove all the risk from blood. Recent studies using animals had
suggested infection in plasma and red blood cells. "Further work must be
carried out with urgency to find an accurate test for prion disease in

Until December last year, the government had always said that the risk
of developing the long-incubating vCJD through blood was theoretical,
despite scientists warning that the risk was "appreciable". The two
cases since then have led ministers to accept a "possible" link. A host
of precautionary measures to protect the blood supply have been taken.

Britain exported blood products which might have been contaminated to 11
countries between 1996 and 2000.,11032,1301318,00.html


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