From Meryl Dorey, Australia - AVN
See article below...
"Once again, the Australian Government is a day late and a dollar short when
it comes to protecting the health of it's citizens.
Two years ago, New Zealand banned blood donations from people who might pass
on this terrible disease (CJD) by donating blood. What did Australia do?
One year ago, the US withdrew from use the Hep B vaccine containing mercury
because it could potentially cause brain damage in infants who are
vaccinated according to schedule. What did Australia do? Worse than
nothing - they introduced this very same vaccine into the infant schedule!
Our government and our Minister for Health have shown time and time again
that when it comes to ensuring that Australians have the best and safest
medicines and vaccines, they are asleep at the wheel. John Howard and Dr.
Wooldridge - it's time to wake up - while you still have a population to
Blood ban to hit supplies
By John Kerin and AAP
AT least 100,000 people are expected to be banned from giving blood to
protect Australia's supplies from contamination by the human variant of mad
Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge said yesterday it would be wise
to exclude people who had potentially been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob
However, "the risk is tiny and the risk is theoretical", Dr Wooldridge said.
The ban, expected to be endorsed today by state and territory health
ministers, would affect at least 30,000 existing donors, and thousands more
potential donors, who spent six months or more in Britain and ate beef and
beef products such as pies and sausages between 1980 and 1996.
An Australian ban on these blood donations would be in line with action
taken by New Zealand and the US. It follows research from Britain suggesting
the disease can be transmitted by blood transfusion.
Eating beef contaminated by mad cow disease has been identified as a means
CJD is caused by the same agent as the cattle disease. It attacks the brain,
has no known cure and can remain dormant in the body for decades before
causing dementia and death.
A ban would cut 5 to 8 per cent of the nation's one million unit a year
donor blood supply, exacerbating a shortage.
The federal Government would have to compensate the Red Cross for recruiting
new and lapsed donors.
The states and territories baulked at a ban when it was first raised in
August, seeking further scientific evidence.
Federal, state and territory health authorities including the commonwealth's
chief medical officer, Richard Smallwood, will hold an emergency telephone
The developments follow a report of research in The Lancet in which
scientists transfused blood from an infected sheep that was showing no
symptoms to healthy sheep.
After 610 days, one of the healthy sheep began to show signs of the disease.
Professor Smallwood said yesterday there might already be contaminated blood
in the system, and it was not known whether there would be a future
"It's not yet possible to say whether there is going to be a large epidemic
in people in the UK or whether it will all just peter out and there will
only be 80 to 100 cases all told," he said.