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Monday, December 15, 1997 Published at 00:28 GMT


CJD scare over Irish blood treatments
image: [ Products containing the plasma have been withdrawn ]
Products containing the plasma have been withdrawn

The makers of a blood product which contained plasma from a donor who later died from Creutzfeld Jakob Disease has said there is no evidence of contamination.

Nearly 270 patients in the Irish Republic have been treated with the product, Amerscan Pulmonate Two, which is used to diagnose lung disease.

Three batches have been withdrawn by the British manufacturers, Nycomed Amersham, who said there was no evidence of contamination.

The company's Corporate Director, Alan Huw Smith, said the move was "purely precautionary".

[ image: Tests detected the new strain of CJD]
Tests detected the new strain of CJD
Britain's National Blood Service discovered that some plasma used in the product came from a donor who died of a formerly undetected strain of CJD, the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, (BSE) which afflicts cattle and is known as "mad cow disease."

CJD has killed at least 20 people in Britain since the first beef scare in March 1996.

The Irish Health Department said it had been informed of the decision to withdraw the product on November 26 by the Irish Medicines Board, the authority responsible for licensing medicines.

The Health Department said it has been considering a number of "ethical and practical matters" and would soon make arrangements to contact all the people who received the product "in the most sensitive, prudent and sympathetic way possible."

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  Internet Links

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UK Institute of Food Science & Technology: paper on BSE

The UK CJD Surveillance Unit

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