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Italy: 'Mad cow disease' claims second Italian victim

Posted Jan 06 2011 10:36am
Italy: 'Mad cow disease' claims second Italian victim

Livorno, 6 Jan. (AKI) - The human variant of the brain-wasting 'mad cow' disease claimed a second victim in Italy after a 44-year-old woman died in hospital in the northwestern port city of Livorno, the local health authority reported on Thursday.

The health authority said the 44-year-old Livorno woman died on Wednesday and was admitted to a city hospice in July in the final stages of her battle against variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), commonly known as 'mad cow' disease.

There is there is no known cure for vCJD.

Italy's first case, a Sicilian woman, died in 2002, a year after she contracted the disease.

VCJD is the human form of the fatal brain-wasting illness first identified in cattle - BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. A total of 275 people have been infected with the disease over the past decade, 170 in Britain, the worst-affected country, 56 in Israel, and 25 in France.

Nearly 200,000 cattle have died from BSE over the same period. The human form of BSE is believed to be caused by eating meat infected with the bovine disease.

EU restrictions on the sale of T-bone beef steaks and beef offal were lifted in 2006 when officials declared the 'mad cow' outbreak was over.
A massive cull in Britain prevented the spread of the disease but isolated cases are still reported.

Almost 190,000 cattle have died from BSE over the past ten years, the vast majority in the UK.

Italy's health ministry and various local health authorities have always denied vCJD patients can infect their family members and carers with the disease.

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