Experts uncertain over extent of vCJD risk to haemophiliacs

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Health experts are unsure of how many haemophiliacs could be at risk after it emerged they may have been exposed to treatments infected by the human form of mad cow disease, it was claimed today.

Health experts are unsure of how many haemophiliacs could be at risk after it emerged they may have been exposed to treatments infected by the human form of mad cow disease, it was claimed today.

The Government was treating the issue as a matter of urgency according to the honorary president of the Haemophilia Society, Lord Morris of Manchester.

Haemophiliacs who fear they have been exposed to plasma derived from a blood donor later found to have vCJD, the human form of mad cow disease, have been urged to contact their doctors.

Counselling arrangements were announced by ministers for patients and their families while efforts are made to establish whether they received the vCJD-infected treatment.

A Department of Health spokesman stressed that the department itself was not involved in trying to trace those who might have been affected. Instead the laboratory which produced the batch of blood products is informing doctors of the batch numbers in question so that they can trace patients.

The spokesman also stressed that there is no evidence that vCJD can be transmitted through blood products.

In 1998 the Government took the step of ceasing to use UK plasma in the manufacture of blood products as a precautionary measure against the theoretical risk that vCJD may be transmitted in this way.

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