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BSE versus Creutzveld-Jacobs-syndrome

bhjelle at unm.edu bhjelle at unm.edu
Fri Mar 29 09:35:00 EST 1996

All this talk about "hysteria" and "disproportionate
reactions" and "one-in-a-million" threats has a very
familiar ring. How many of those who are making these
comments remember the transfusion-associated AIDS debacle
of the early 1980s? There are some remarkable parallels
to the TAA situation in 1983. A "rare" disease with long
latency, with some uncertainty about its potential for
transmission via the proposed route. No way to test for
it directly. One, a few, a dozen extremely ill patients.
For TAA, the toll quickly rose to tens of thousands.
Some blood banks later discovered that some 1 in 100
units were contaminated during the peak years.

There are some hard policy decisions that sometimes
must be made with inadequate data. No doubt some will
be "hysterical" when viewed retrospectively. We're not
at that point yet. In the meantime, I certainly can't
fault a very cautious stance.


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