05 August 1997
Call for inquiry into Kent CJD cluster
DAVID HINCHCLIFFE, chairman of the Commons health committee, has called for a full judicial inquiry into alleged connections between bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
He is alarmed about a cluster in Kent where there have been six deaths from the new variant of CJD, which has been linked to eating infected beef.
The Department of Health announced there were 21 deaths from the new strain confirmed last month. Of those 20 were dead and one was in a coma.
The National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh confirmed five new cases over the three months to May. There had been no new cases the previous three months.
The Royal Society quoted a variety of laboratory experiments supporting the case that the new CJD variant is the human manifestation of BSE.
Mandy Minto, 27, of Grangetown, Sunderland, a former European judo champion, is believed to be the latest victim. A 15-year-old schoolgirl, Donna-Marie McGivern, from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, may also have the strain.