28/11/2002

Patients warned after blood donor's CJD diagnosis

There are concerns that a small number of haemophiliacs in Northern Ireland and Scotland may have received blood products from a donor who later was diagnosed with variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (vCJD).

Health agencies in Scotland have written to patients warning them that they may have been given treatments derived from the donor's blood.

It is understood that the donor gave blood twice in 1987 and went on to develop vCJD.

Patients who may have received blood products have been offered counselling.

There is no simple diagnostic test for the incurable condition and vCJD has killed 117 people in Britain.

The Medical Director of the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service, Professor Ian Franklin, stressed that there was no evidence that either form of CJD was transmissible by blood products.

He said that UK blood transfusion services were nonetheless taking precautionary steps. Outlining these measures, he said that plasma was being imported from the US and Germany where there was a lower incidence of CJD.

It has not been revealed how many patients have been contacted as official sources indicate that this would be a breech of patient confidentiality.

(SP)

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