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vCJD alert to be reviewed

17th August 2006

08052006_bloodtransfusion1.jpgThe government is reviewing the way it warns people they may be incubating the human form of BSE after transfusion with contaminated blood or being infected by tainted surgical instruments.

The deputy coroner for Brighton & Hove, John Hooper, made an appeal for an urgent shake-up in the present system after the family of a patient who died from the disease complained that the blood authorities had known he was in danger for years before he was told.

Mark Buckland, who had received blood in September 1997 from a donor, went on to die from variant CJD in April 2000. However, it was not until January 2004 that Mr Buckland learned of the risk.   His family alleges that even then Mark was not made aware by doctors of the true danger he was in despite already being unwell.

Although the disease is not at present curable, Mr Hooper said that "patients should have the opportunity of appropriate assessment, advice and treatment if they wish. Patients and families could then prepare themselves properly." Improvements to the system might also help others if a cure became available, he added.

Stephen Wroe, consultant neurologist at the National Prion Clinic, London, the centre for vCJD diagnosis, said the unit should be told at the same time as individuals at risk, GPs and public health officials. The unit specialists could then advise patients both on the risk and the management of the disease.

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Article Information

Title: vCJD alert to be reviewed
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 664
Date Added: 17th Aug 2006


The Guardian

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