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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 9 August 2002 Issue

Canadian Man Dies of Mad Cow Disease

By BARRY BROWN

TORONTO (AP) - A Canadian man has died in the country's first confirmed case of the human brain condition linked to "mad cow'' disease, officials said
Thursday.

The unidentified man, said to be under 50 years old, contracted the "new variant'' form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease while in Britain, which has faced several outbreaks of the disease, said Dr. Antonio Giulivi, an official with the Canadian government agency, Health Canada.

"There is no evidence that mad cow disease has entered the Canadian food supply, and therefore we can reassure the Canadian public the person did not acquire the disease in Canada,'' Giulivi said.

The man died at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Officials have contacted 71 people who came into contact with medical equipment used on the infected man. Health Canada officials said there is a remote chance the
equipment, though cleaned and decontaminated, could still carry the fatal, brain-wasting illness. There is no cure for the disease.

Giulivi said ``all evidence'' suggests the man acquired the disease during several long-term stays in Britain during the height of the disease's outbreak.

While in Britain, he ``regularly ate processed meat products,'' and those products, if made from infected cow meat, can transmit the disease to humans, Giulivi said.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, is a rare condition with several causes.  The new variant form has been linked to eating cattle products from animals with mad cow disease. CJD can also be inherited, appear sporadically with no known cause, or result from infection with contaminated medical equipment or tissue.

The disease causes a rapidly progressive dementia and, in most cases, involuntary jerking movements.

More than 100 Britons have died from new variant CJD.

The victim's name, exact age and when he died were not made public. Officials have said he died this summer, and doctors confirmed the diagnosis on Aug. 6.

The illness can only be confirmed through an autopsy.

08/08/02 21:10

Return to Animals in Print 9 Aug 2002 Issue

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