Six ‘Mad Cow’ deaths

THE human variant of ‘Mad Cow Disease’ was mentioned on six Northern Ireland death certificates over the past three years, the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has revealed.

The Minister provided details of the number of deaths registered in Northern Ireland between 2009 and 2011, where ‘Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease’ was mentioned on the death certificate.

Mr Wilson’s colleague the Health Minister Edwin Poots said that of 176 deaths from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease across the UK since 1995, just three had occurred in Northern Ireland.

Mr Poots said none of the three deaths were due to blood transfusions and that it was impossible to say for sure if the three local deaths were due to the consumption of infected beef products.

“There have been 176 deaths in the United Kingdom from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) since 1995. Three of these deaths were in Northern Ireland,” he stated.

“None of the three deaths in Northern Ireland was associated with blood transfusions. While there is good, although indirect, evidence that variant CJD originated from transmission of infection from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in cattle to humans via infectivity in food, the source of infection in three cases in Northern Ireland is not known,” he added.