A US proposal to ban the import of blood products from all European sources will further tax the already overburdened blood banks of the United States. These draconian measures are being suggested to prevent new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (nvCJD), a progressive, incurable, neurodegenerative disease, being transmitted to otherwise healthy individuals by contaminated blood. However, this plan to restrict the donor population is based not on hard, scientific evidence but on two unsupported fears: that thousands of Europeans are in a preclinical, undiagnosed state in the development of nvCJD and that nvCJD is transmitted by blood.

The prevailing theory is that nvCJD is caused by ingesting meat contaminated with nervous tissue from cattle with the closely related disease, bovine spongiform encephelopathy (BSE, also called "mad cow disease"). About 100 people in the United Kingdom have contracted nvCJD. The current proposal to refuse blood from European donors stems from the fact...

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