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From: TSS (216-119-139-217.ipset19.wt.net)
Subject: GOVERNMENT URGED TO SPEED UP vCJD RESEARCH WHILE BURYING SPORADIC CJD CAUSES
Date: September 22, 2004 at 9:14 am PST

Fears over vCJD risk
Nigel Hamilton expects to receive a letter

The government has been urged to speed up its research into Variant CJD - the human form of mad cow disease.

It follows news that more than 460 people in Northern Ireland are being warned that they could have been exposed to vCJD through blood plasma products.

The Department of Health said on Tuesday that it was writing to 464 patients to explain they were potentially at a small increased risk of infection.

It has stressed that the risk is very small and concerns people who received blood products before 1999 when tighter controls were brought in.

Haemophiliac Nigel Hamilton says he expects to receive a letter warning him that he may have been exposed to vCJD.

"There is an unknown factor about it," he said.

"You could find yourself with vCJD contaminant in your blood but no-one is in a position to tell you when it will strike.

"It is that fear that you have a time bomb going off in your system.

"You do not know when, but you know it is ticking."

The action is part of a UK-wide patient notification exercise involving more than 6,000 people.

It was organised following the first possible case of a person dying after contracting vCJD through a blood transfusion, announced by Health Secretary Dr John Reid last December.

Transfusion ban

This led to a ban on people who have received a blood transfusion since January 1980 donating blood in the future.

Then in July it emerged that another patient who received donated blood was found to be carrying the vCJD agent, though they died of an unrelated cause.

Dr Angela Robinson, from the National Blood Service , said they had identified nine donors in the UK who went on to develop vCJD.

Together, the donors made 23 plasma donations which contributed to about 200 batches of plasma.
The Department of Health has set up a helpline for people who are concerned. The number is: 02890 765725

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3680306.stm

TSS




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