Docs Alarmed after Mad Cow Linked to Plasma Transfusion

Risk of infection with fatal disease was previously said be very low
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2009 1:18 PM CST
South Korean health officials conduct an inspection of imported US beef at a refrigerated warehouse in South Korea.   (AP Photo/Korea Pool)
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(Newser) – Scientists have discovered the first case of mad cow caused by tainted blood plasma, the Telegraph reports. The elderly British man, who died from other causes, received blood transfusions years before doctors imposed restrictions to halt the spread of the fatal disease. Scientists had previously insisted the 4,000 people who received possibly contaminated plasma were unlikely to contract mad cow.

“This looks like pretty grim news for a group of people who have been through fire and water for so long,” said one bacteriology professor, adding, “There is a lot more we still need to know.” More than 160 Britons have died from mad cow, and after learning that the disease’s incubation period varies, scientists warned more could be infected.