Families' new CJD nightmare

November 16, 2001 The Daily Mail (London) by Sinead Mcintyre
MORE than 20 haemophiliacs have received blood from a donor who died from the human form of mad cow disease, it emerged last night.

Among them is a 12-year-old Manchester boy, whose parents cannot face telling him that he may face an horrific death.

His mother said they were praying for a cure but every day was now a 'nightmare'. Last night it emerged two teenage brothers from Hull were also given blood from the same donor. They too have not been told they are at risk.

No one has ever contracted new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease from blood products but scientists have not ruled out the danger.

Haemophiliacs are given blood plasma made up from donors around the country to help their own to clot.

There is no way of screening blood for vCJD. Doctors only discover a batch is infected when the donor develops symptoms of the deadly disease.

The mother of the two brothers said she had given both her sons injections of blood she later discovered came from the donor who died of vCJD.

She received a letter from Hull Royal Infirmary in January telling her 12 people, including her sons, had received contaminated blood.

'I have injected my own sons with blood that came from a person with vCJD,' she said. 'It is a terrible thing to live with every day.

'But I can't tell them. They just don't need to know at the moment. My eldest son would go crazy if he found out. I don't know how he would live with the knowledge so I just keep it to myself.' The woman gave her sons the injections in April 1997. She said her doctor had told her vCJD lay dormant for five years.

'If they haven't got it by next April then that could mean that they aren't going to develop it, but you just don't know whether to believe them.

'I am frantic with worry.' A spokeswoman for the Department of Health confirmed that 22 people had been sent a letter telling them they had received blood from the donor who died of vCJD.

Haemophiliacs are campaigning for more supplies of the risk-free synthetic blood substitute Recombinant Factor VIII, which is imported from the U.S. and currently only available for under 16s, to stop sufferers receiving contaminated blood.

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