CJD blood scare in Ireland

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Hundreds of Irish hospital patients have been given a blood product contaminated by plasma from a donor who subsequently died of new variant CJD, the human equivalent of BSE, it emerged last night.

The product, Amerscan Pulmonate Two, is used to diagnose lung disease. It was administered to 268 people in nine Irish hospitals before being withdrawn; 320 doses of the contaminated batch were distributed to the hospitals.

The Irish Health department said last night that it would shortly make arrangements for recipients of the injectable agent to be informed "in the most sensitive ... way possible".

The withdrawal of the product, made in Britain, was said to be "purely precautionary" by its manufacturers.