Human Form of Mad Cow Disease Could Kill 1,000 Britons: Experts

Human Form of Mad Cow Disease Could Kill 1,000 Britons: Experts

Experts have told ministers that an estimated 30,000 Britons could be suffering from creutzfeldt - Jakob disease. The figures are double the previous estimate. The experts fear that estimated Britons at risk could be carrying the disease in a dormant form.

The disease could be transmitted through blood transfusions. The infection has not been completely eradicated from Britain's blood supply and the officials have warned that the current death toll of 176 could soar to 1,000.

Frank Dobson, a former health secretary has requested ministers to design a nationwide screening programme to enable blood donors to stop future infections of the brain-wasting illness. Dobson said that the infection has enough potential to cause horrendous deaths.

The new risk assessment published this month by the Government's Health Protection Analytical team revealed that nearly 2,000 Britons unknowingly carry infectious proteins. These proteins could be easily spread through blood.

"It is therefore important to maintain, and if possible enhance, measures to prevent onward transmission of infection, notably the exclusion of recipients from donating blood", it said.

Dr. Ian Franklin, medical and scientific director of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service said that IBTS was vigilant for a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease known as human form of mad cow disease. IBTS does not accept blood donations from people who spent one or more years in the U. K. between Jan 1980 and Dec 1996.

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