Letter: Act now to curb latest CJD risk

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yes, too little action was taken on BSE and too late; and indeed the Government was told at the time what to do by scientists who were ignored (Who deserves censure for BSE?", 14 February; letters 17 February).

But always the problem with a long-incubation-period epidemic is that you have to take action before proof of danger is available, and the Government decided to wait for the proof. Labour may arrive in power with the same problem for the new variant of CJD. We cannot know the number of people that will die of the disease, but these are the people donating blood at the moment and a recent article in Nature would indicate that one in 200-300 blood donations may be from an infected person to an uninfected one.

Labour may not realise it, but no research funding has been put into looking for methods of treatment under the current government and such a complex development may take 10 years.

Again action has to be taken before certainty is available ... or again it will be too late.

Dr STEPHEN DEALLER

Consultant Medical Microbiologist

Burnley, Lancashire

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