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Blood transfusions from British donors could be made available again for people born after 1996
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The controversial ban on the use of British blood transfusions for people born after 1996 could be lifted after 15 years.

Officials took the verdict in 2004 after the death of three people who had a & # 39; crazy cow disease & # 39; by blood transfusions.

It meant that the NHS had to import blood from Austria and Poland when someone born after the closure needed a donor.

But an official advisory committee has now called for the prohibition to be reversed, which is thought to cost healthcare around £ 5 million each year.

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A ban on the use of British blood transfusions for people born after 1996 could be lifted after 15 years after an official advisory board said the risk of mad cow disease was minimal (file image)

Mad cow disease infected tens of thousands of cows in the 1990s and led to many being killed (photo: a 1996 photo of cows killed due to mad cow disease)

Mad cow disease infected tens of thousands of cows in the 1990s and led to many being killed (photo: a 1996 photo of cows killed due to mad cow disease)

Mad cow disease infected tens of thousands of cows in the 1990s and led to many being killed (photo: a 1996 photo of cows killed due to mad cow disease)

Mad cow disease, which can spread to people and cause a deadly brain infection, led to the slaughter of all cows older than 30 months in 1996 (photo: a herd of 124 cows in France had to be killed in 1996 because one of them had the disease)

Mad cow disease, which can spread to people and cause a deadly brain infection, led to the slaughter of all cows older than 30 months in 1996 (photo: a herd of 124 cows in France had to be killed in 1996 because one of them had the disease)

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Mad cow disease, which can spread to people and cause a deadly brain infection, led to the slaughter of all cows older than 30 months in 1996 (photo: a herd of 124 cows in France had to be killed in 1996 because one of them had the disease)

In an evaluation of evidence, experts argued that the risk of death from Creutzfeldt-Jakob-derived variant (vCJD) was minimal.

The body calculated that only one person would die from the fatal, degenerative brain disorder for any given 5.2 million transfusions of British blood.

The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs even claimed that there is a five-fold greater risk of dying in a car accident while driving between London and Bristol.

The body claims that ending the prohibition is the & # 39; risk & # 39; s & # 39; from importing blood from other countries and freeing up funds to save & # 39; lives elsewhere in the NHS & # 39 ;.

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Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a fatal neurological disease in cattle caused by an abnormal protein that destroys the brain and spinal cord.

The disease was first identified in the United Kingdom in 1986, although research suggests that the first infections may have occurred spontaneously in the 1970s.

It is believed to be spread by feeding veal and bone meal contaminated with BSE. The human variant of mad cow disease is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

It is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Prions accumulate at high levels in the brain and cause irreversible damage to nerve cells, causing the brain and body to deteriorate rapidly.

Cows exposed to BSE must be slaughtered and thrown away to ensure that they never come close to the food chain (photo: a cow is cremated during the 1996 cull)

Cows exposed to BSE must be slaughtered and thrown away to ensure that they never come close to the food chain (photo: a cow is cremated during the 1996 cull)

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Cows exposed to BSE must be slaughtered and thrown away to ensure that they never come close to the food chain (photo: a cow is cremated during the 1996 cull)

More than 70,000 cows were infected with mad cow disease in 1992 and 1993, and the furious crisis in the UK led the EU to ban British beef exports three years later

More than 70,000 cows were infected with mad cow disease in 1992 and 1993, and the furious crisis in the UK led the EU to ban British beef exports three years later

More than 70,000 cows were infected with mad cow disease in 1992 and 1993, and the furious crisis in the UK led the EU to ban British beef exports three years later

People can contract vCJD if beef products are contaminated with tissue from the central nervous system of cattle infected with mad cow disease.

There were 36,000 diagnosed cases of mad cow disease in the UK in 1992, banning UK beef exports and killing dozens of people. There is no treatment and 177 people have been killed by the variant.

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People are no longer at risk of getting vCJD from eating British beef after ministers ordered the slaughter of millions of cows when the mad cow disease scandal broke out in 1989.

WHAT IS MAD COW DISEASE?

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a fatal neurological disease in cattle caused by an abnormal protein that destroys the brain and spinal cord.

The disease was first identified in Great Britain in 1986, although research suggests that the first infections may have occurred spontaneously in the 1970s.

It is believed to be spread by feeding veal and bone meal contaminated with BSE.

People can catch the Creutzfeldt-Jacob (vCJD) variant if beef products are infected with tissue from the central nervous system of cattle infected with cow disease. There is no treatment and 177 people have been killed by the variant.

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There were 36,000 diagnosed cases of mad cow disease in Britain in 1992, banning British beef exports and killing dozens of people.

In August 1996, a British coroner judged that Peter Hall, a 20-year-old vegetarian who died of vCJD, contracted the disease by eating hamburgers as a child.

The verdict was the first to legally link human death to mad cow disease.

However, the government acknowledges that one in 2000 Britons – or around 30,000 people – already carries the infectious proteins that cause some people to develop vCJD.

Doctors used to believe that these 30,000 carriers could unknowingly transfer the infectious proteins to new patients through donated blood.

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The UK started importing plasma for the treatment of people born after January 1, 1996 as part of measures taken to prevent the disease spreading in 2004.

Doctors said that people born after that time would not have been exposed to the disease through the food supply chain and that certain additional precautions should be taken to prevent them being exposed through blood products.

Those born before 1996 were still treated with British blood donations.

Now, blood components are only imported from Austria and Poland, countries that have similar safety regulations as the NHS and a lower risk that the donor population carries CJD than that of the UK.

In Britain it is known that four people get a CJD infection due to blood transfusions. The last known case was in 2006.

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But the new report says that the chances are now too small to justify the ban.

Last year there were scares from a new crazy cow outbreak after a case in Scotland was confirmed.

Routine tests showed that an animal that died on October 2 was infected and the four calves were put down as a safety measure.

Some believe the infection was caught from the animal's food, suggesting that other cows on the farm – believed to be in Huntly, Aberdeenshire – could be infected.

The farm was closed while officials investigated the cause of the disease.

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The case was the first in Scotland since 2008 and the mad cow disease was last found in the UK in 2015, when a dead cow in Wales had it.

At the height of the disease in the early 1990s, it infected more than 30,000 cows a year, but to date there have been only five cases in the UK since 2012.

HOW BAD WAS THE MAD COW DISEASE FROM THE 1990s?

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – better known as mad cow disease – was first discovered in 1984 in Sussex.

In the subsequent outbreak, British beef exports were banned, cows were killed, and people died due to a BSE brain disease.

The first cow to be diagnosed, known as cow 133, had a bent back, had lost weight, was shaking and lost its coordination – he died within six weeks.

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Officials discovered that giving & # 39; cannibal & # 39; feed to cows with protein from other cows or sheep was the cause of BSE, so the practice banned in 1989.

The government ordered contaminated cows to be killed, but only offered farmers a 50 percent compensation, which meant that some would sell illegally infected animals for human food.

Thousands of cows were infected by 1992 and 1993.

In those two years alone, 72,370 cows in the UK were found to have crazy cow disease. For comparison: there have only been six cases since 2012 – including those of today.

By 1996 people began to die of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant, which occurs in the brains of people infected with mad cow disease.

In the same year, all exports of beef from Great Britain were banned by the European Union and the ban was only lifted in 2006.

Cows older than 30 months were ordered to be killed to stop the spread of the disease – called the Over Thirty Months Regulation.

sources: New scientist and World Organization for Animal Health

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