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From: TSS (216-119-144-43.ipset24.wt.net)
Subject: Call for blood stocks inquiry due to CJD transfusions
Date: September 12, 2004 at 7:34 am PST

Call for blood stocks inquiry

Sep 10 2004

By The Journal

The wife of a Newcastle haemophiliac has called for a public inquiry into the country's blood stocks after the Government announced it is to contact patients who may have contracted CJD through transfusions.

Health Secretary John Reid explained recipients of some blood products would be contacted about the results of a risk assessment exercise carried out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

It follows the identification last December of the first suspected case of vCJD transmission through blood transfusion.

Mr Reid said patients would be approached by their doctors and "appropriate supporting information will be provided".

The Government last night refused to say how many people would be contacted and said those figures would only be released after all "at risk" patients have been informed.

The Department of Health stress that only patients with bleeding disorders such as haemophilia - who have accessed the "plasma pool" - are at risk.

Peter Longstaff, 46, is a haemophiliac who was infected with HIV and Hepatitis C more than a decade ago.

In 1996 the former salesman received the first of 12 batches of blood from donors who have since died of vCJD. No test exists for the disease in living patients.

His wife Carol, 44, of St George's Terrace in Jesmond, Newcastle is a full-time carer for her husband and the founder of pressure group Haemophiliac Action UK.

The former nurse said: "It is good that they are finally acknowledging the risks of vCJD and letting people know, but it is too little, too late. I just hope that all the people who get these letters get all the support and information they are going to need in the next few months because we certainly didn't. What is needed is a public inquiry into blood stocks in this country."

The Government had for many years refused to acknowledge the possibility that vCJD could be contracted via blood transfusion, but the weight of evidence provoked a U-turn.

Mr Longstaff is receiving palliative care at St Oswald's Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle.

His wife is asking for his brain to be examined after his death so it can be conclusively proven whether or not he is incubating vCJD.

A Department of Health spokesman said after vCJD was identified, the risk of it being transferred in blood was not known - though it was considered theoretically possible. He added: "No public inquiry into blood stocks is planned at present."

http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/thejournal/thejournal/page.cfm?objectid=14625664&method=full&siteid=50081

TSS




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