February 22, 2002 Deutsche Presse-AgenturA Hong Kong woman has died of the human version of mad cow disease, health officials in the territory confirmed Friday.
The 35-year-old woman, who died Wednesday in a Hong Kong hospital where she had been treated since May, is believed to be the first person in Asia to die of variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD). The woman, who has not been named, is believed to have contracted the disease between 1985 and 1992 when she lived in Britain, where she owned a restaurant with her husband.
She returned to Britain regularly after moving back to Hong Kong in the mid-1990s and first went to hospital for treatment early last year.
More than 100 people in Britain have contracted vCJD since the Mad Cow scare of the 1990s, according to recent statistics, and almost all of them have died.
The Hong Kong victim is believed to be the first person to die of the disease in Asia, after a suspected case in Japan turned out to be a false alarm.
A Hong Kong Department of Health spokesman said that further tests had to be carried out to determine the exact case of death. "Her case is classified as probable vCJD," said the spokesman. dpa hp ff