Japan bans blood donations from travellers to France

8th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

TOKYO, March 8 (AFP) - Japan will ban people who spent even a single day in Britain or France from 1980 to 1996 from donating blood over fears of spreading the human version of mad cow disease, a health official said Tuesday.

TOKYO, March 8 (AFP) - Japan will ban people who spent even a single day in Britain or France from 1980 to 1996 from donating blood over fears of spreading the human version of mad cow disease, a health official said Tuesday.

"We plan to restrict blood donations from those who stayed for one day or more in Britain or France from 1980 to 1996 as well as those who stayed (in either country) for more than six months from 1997," the official said.

A man who in December became the first Japanese to die of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) "most likely" contracted the brain-wasting condition in Britain, a health ministry panel concluded Monday.

The disease is believed to be caused by eating meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.

His passport showed he stayed in Britain for some 24 days in the first half of 1990 when the disease was still raging there. He also spent three days in France during the same period.

In Britain, "he liked the local cuisine of the common people," the panel said, quoting his family and doctor who said his diet there included roast beef, kidney pies, blood sausages, hamburgers and gravy.

What he ate in France was unclear, while in Japan he mostly had a traditional Japanese diet which does not contain as much red meat.

At least 148 people died of vCJD disease in Britain. The disease has also been confirmed in smaller numbers in other European countries such as France.

Japan's authorities have said there was no risk from meat in Japan.

There have been 15 confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease in Japan since it became the only Asian nation to have reported mad cow in its herd in September 2001.

The country has since screened every cow slaughtered for consumption, requiring meat producers to remove body parts with higher risk.

Japan, once the biggest importer of US beef, stopped buying after a mad cow case was discovered in an animal in the United States in December 2003.

The United States has been pressuring Japan to buy US beef again, with some members of Congress threatening sanctions unless Tokyo moves swiftly.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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