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Third Case Of vCJD Linked to Transfusions Worries British Authorities

Third Case Of vCJD Linked to Transfusions Worries British Authorities

LONDON, Dec. 8 -- A transfusion-linked case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) here has British health authorities increasingly worried about the possibility of a mini-epidemic of the incurable disease from tainted blood.

It was the third case of vCJD in an at-risk group who had tainted blood transfusions but the first to be identified before death as having the disease. The patient, a 32-year-old man, developed the disease after a red-cell transfusion donated by a person later determined to have vCJD.

Two cases -- identified after death and reported two years ago -- were previously identified among 66 people who got blood transfusions from donors who subsequently developed vCJD, according to Stephen Wroe, M.D., of the National Prion Clinic at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery here.

The report emphasizes the "substantial risk" faced by members of the at-risk group, which is now down to 24, and also "suggests that blood transfusion is an efficient route of transmission of vCJD prion infection," Dr. Wroe and colleagues reported in the Dec. 9 issue of The Lancet.

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