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Ecape man contracts mad cow disease

June 20, 2002 SAPA (South African Press Association)
A 27-year-old Uitenhage man is critically ill in an Eastern Cape hospital with what is believed to be the human variant of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE/mad cow disease). The Cuyler Clinic's general manager, Gloria Murison, said on Thursday that doctors were still waiting for test results, but were confident that the preliminary diagnosis was correct. "We don't yet know how he contracted the illness, but his doctors have emphasised that there's no need for the public to panic," Murison said. She said the patient was in a coma and that his relatives were adamant that they did not want his personal details released to the media. "You must understand this is a bad time for them... but we will be able to give you more information by next week," she said. Mad cow disease is a brain-destroying illness that first surfaced in British cattle but now has spread to cattle in other parts of the world. It probably infected cows who ate a food supplement containing remains of sheep infected with a similar form of the illness.

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