Farm worker is fourth victim in CJD 'death valley'

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

A young farm worker has become the fourth person with close links to the same Leicestershire village to die from new variant CJD - the human form of mad cow disease.

A young farm worker has become the fourth person with close links to the same Leicestershire village to die from new variant CJD - the human form of mad cow disease.

It was revealed yesterday that Christopher Reeve, 24, died last Thursday after suffering from vCJD for at least a year. He is the fourth victim from the village of Queniborough, in the Wreake Valley, where the Government has launched an investigation.

The news comes as the independent inquiry set up to examine BSE and CJD will today pass its report to ministers. The £16m inquiry - which has taken two-and-a-half years to complete - has looked at the causes of the disease and the adequacy or otherwise of the official response.

Mr Reeve, the youngest of six children, lived in the neighbouring village of Rearsby but worked in Queniborough.

His parents, Tony and Linda, placed a notice in a local newspaper which said: "Christopher has passed away peacefully after as much pain as anybody could cope with.

"We watched over him for months and watched him suffer but in all the times he never complained. He would laugh and joke and smiled at us right to the end.

"We keep asking 'Why him?' He was gentle, kind and never hurt anyone. We held him inour arms and we wished we could make him better but it wasn't to be."

A Queniborough resident, who asked not to be named, said: "This area is being called 'death valley' and fear is hanging over everyone.

"You just wonder who is going to be next.

"It's an invisible disease and you don't know who else has contracted it or what the source could be."

Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable diseases at Leicestershire health authority, said yesterday: "Sadly the death was expected. It is a tragedy for the family and our thoughts are with them."

Officials say vCJD has claimed the lives of 74 known victims, while another eight are suffering from it.

The cluster in Queniborough is being investigated by experts from the CJD surveillance unit, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the public health laboratory service as well as the local health authority and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Health. Results of the investigation are due in November.

Dr Monk added: "The cluster is linked by time and place but whether it's Queniborough itself we don't yet know. Certainly one of the things we will look at is the food supply."

The government inquiry has taken evidence from more than 800 witnesses including experts, politicians and relatives of victims.

Yesterday Frances Hall of the support group, the Human BSE Foundation, said: "It's going to be a red-letter day for us to see this report handed over. We had to fight very hard to get this inquiry. Whether we get a total picture, I don't know."

Comments