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From: TSS (
Subject: FIRST IRISH vCJD & CASE CJD case sparks beef fears
Date: October 24, 2004 at 1:35 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 'First Irish vCJD case'
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 15:34:16 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

'First Irish vCJD case'
One variant CJD case has previously been diagnosed in Ireland
One variant CJD case has previously been diagnosed in Ireland

A man is being treated in a Dublin hospital with what is believed to be
the first case of variant CJD to originate in the Republic of Ireland.

He is said to be in a serious condition and further tests are expected
to be carried out.

The patient is understood to be a man in his early 20s.

The hospital confirmed he never received a blood transfusion or made a
blood donation.

The cause of infection is not linked to an operation, it said.

"There is a potential case of vCJD currently being investigated," said a
hospital spokesman.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is one of a small group of fatal
diseases caused by infectious agents called prions, which attack the brain.

New variant CJD (vCJD) is caused by exposure to bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE) and typically affects younger people.

Professor William Hall, chairman of the Irish Government's CJD Advisory
Committee, said the public should not panic.

"The IBTS (Irish Blood Transfusion Service) has taken exemplary
measures, I believe, to reduce the potential risk in the blood supply,"
he said.

"I would point out that the suspect case at the present time has never
received blood, nor has donated blood."

'Contaminated beef'

The hospital spokesman said that in the interests of the patient and his
family, no other details, including the name of the hospital, would be

It is understood the man has not lived in Britain, meaning that this is
potentially the first case of variant CJD to originate in Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland already has strict restrictions on people who
lived Britain between 1980 and 1996 from donating blood.

Only one variant CJD case has previously been diagnosed in the Irish
Republic - a woman who had lived for some time in England.

Contaminated beef was the cause of most cases in the UK, but transfusion
experts believe there is a potential for vCJD to be transmitted through
blood or blood products.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) recently announced new donor
controls to reduce the risk of vCJD transmission in the country.

October 24, 2004

CJD case sparks beef fears
Richard Oakley and Dearbhail McDonald

THE man being treated in a Dublin hospital for suspected vCJD, the human
form of BSE or “mad cow” disease, is likely to have contracted the fatal
illness by eating contaminated beef in Ireland.

The Department of Health confirmed yesterday that the patient,
understood to be in his early twenties, had never had a blood
transfusion or an operation. That means infected meat is the likely source.

A Dublin hospital has carried out tests to ascertain if the man has the
deadly disease. If doctors’ fears are confirmed, the impact on Ireland’s
billion-euro beef industry, which trades on its quality image, could be
considerable. The deadly disease has been found in Irish herds, but this
would be the first indigenous case of vCJD. It is understood that the
man has not lived in Britain, which has been at the centre of BSE, for
an extended period.

The case would raise questions about the effectiveness of measures taken
in Ireland to protect against infected beef in the 1990s.

Doctors and food experts moved this weekend to play down possible public
fears over the case. Professor William Hall, chairman of the country’s
CJD advisory group, said cases of the disease in Ireland had been
predicted and that it was believed there would be 15 at the most.

The figures were calculated using BSE prevalence figures in Britain and
Ireland by Imperial College London and Beaumont hospital in Dublin.

Hall said this should reassure the public. “This is a difficult time and
I don’t want to sound glib. However, we were expecting at least one case
of vCJD based on calculated estimates,” he said. There has been one
previous case of vCJD detected in Ireland, but the woman in that
instance had lived in Britain.

The Department of Agriculture is taking steps to reassure people that
Irish beef is safe. The quality of Irish beef has been heavily promoted
since the dramatic collapse of exports because of BSE in 2000. The
department will be anxious to ensure that other countries remain
confident that the country’s safety standards are high. Beef exports
were last year worth €1.9 billion.

The department can rely on the findings of the expected incidence rates
and will be able to point to stringent measures put in place to control
and attempt to eradicate cases of BSE in Irish cattle.

However, if the man involved is found to have vCJD, it will be difficult
to pinpoint where or how he contracted it. The disease has a long
incubation time — some doctors believe it may be up to 20 years.

As the man is in his early twenties, it is not clear whether he would
have contracted the disease before or after the Department of
Agriculture brought in protective measures. The first controls relating
to BSE were introduced in 1989; they were extended in 1996-97 when the
possible link between BSE and vCJD was first confirmed in the UK.

The department issued a statement last night in which it moved to
highlight its controls.

“Ireland has operated a comprehensive range of controls in the cattle
and beef sectors in relation to BSE since the confirmation of the first
case in 1989,” it said.

These include a total ban on the use of meat and bone meal as farm
animal feed, the removal at slaughter of tissues in cattle and the
examination of all cattle before they are killed. BSE infection is
linked to the feeding of cattle with meat and bone meal.

The department said the controls in Ireland were constantly audited by a
range of bodies including the European commission and the Food Safety
Authority of Ireland.

It added that the annual number of BSE cases in Ireland was decreasing.

“The cases now appearing are consistent with situations in other member
states and have been predicted,” it said.

In relation to six cases where the cattle infected were from the period
prior to 1996-97, it said there was no basis for suspecting that they
were indicative of either a systematic failure in controls or a
deviation in overall trends in relation to BSE.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland last night said that since 1996
stringent controls from “farm to fork”, right across the food chain, had
been introduced to protect consumers.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said Mary Harney, the minister
and tanaiste, had been informed of the suspected case last Thursday.

“She immediately called a meeting with the chief medical officer and the
chairman of the CJD Advisory Board the following day. She was assured
that there were no public health issues regarding the blood supply
arising from the case, as the patient had never donated blood or
received a blood transfusion, and that the cause of the suspected
disease was not linked to an operation,” the spokesman said.

“She was also assured that every possible safeguard and preventive
measure had been taken in relation to vCJD. The Department of Health is
in constant contact with the hospital authorities.”

It is understood Bertie Ahern, the taoiseach, has been briefed on the
case as has Mary Coughlan, the agriculture minister.

“This is most distressing but it was inevitable” said Dr Mary Upton, a
scientist and Labour spokeswoman on food safety and agriculture. “It is
highly distressing for that young man and his family.

“I predicted that we would have more cases of vCJD. Now we should be
putting facilities in place to support people who may have contracted
CJD here in the late 1980s and 1990s. The government should set up a
compensation fund.”,,2091-1325594,00.html,,2091-1325594_2,00.html


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