UK Blood Products From vCJD Victims Sold Abroadgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Is a separate category for health - epidemics appropriate for this type of story. I posted under health care because I could not determine another place to post this.
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Monday February 5 12:43 PM ET UK Blood Products From vCJD Victims Sold Abroad
By Patricia Reaney
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday that it had exported blood products donated by three people who were later diagnosed with the human equivalent of mad cow disease.
The National Blood Service (NBS) said it had notified the hospitals and customers in 11 countries who received the blood products. The countries were Ireland, Brazil, Dubai, India, Turkey, Brunei, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Russia and Singapore.
Chris Hartley of the NBS played down the likelihood that the blood products could have served to transmit the incurable brain-wasting disease.
``They (the products) were exported to 11 countries and they were also used in the UK,'' Hartley said.
``We notified all our hospitals in the UK and all our customers abroad and the regulatory body about what had happened. We had two product recalls in 1997 that were exactly the same,'' he said.
Hartley said it was impossible to say how many people had received the products, which were now past their expiry date.
Britain's Department of Health says there is no scientific evidence that variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (news - web sites) (vCJD), which scientists have linked to eating meat from cattle suffering from mad cow or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE (news - web sites)), can be transmitted through blood or blood products.
But a study by scientists at the Institute of Animal Health in Edinburgh, who infected a healthy sheep with mad cow disease by injecting it with blood from a diseased animal without symptoms, believe it is possible.
So far more than 80 people in Britain and two in France have died of vCJD. The blood products that were exported included albumin, immunoglobulin and a clotting factor needed by hemophiliacs.
The most recent case of an infected blood donor occurred last December when a donor who gave blood in 1996 and 1997 was diagnosed with vCJD. It followed two product recalls in 1997 after the NBS were informed two other blood donors also were struck down with the disease.
``In December last year, we had this further donor who was diagnosed with vCJD. However, there was no point in recalling those products because we had already carried out a recovery and replacement program to get rid of all products with UK plasma and replace them with products with U.S. plasma,'' said Hartley.
The United States and other countries have barred blood donations from people who have lived in Britain for six months or more from 1980 to 1996 as a precautionary measure against the spread of vCJD, which is incurable.
-- K. (email@example.com), February 05, 2001