Student, 17, is latest fatal victim of vCJD

A TEENAGER has died from variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease, the human form of mad cow disease, it emerged yesterday.

Matthew Stubbs, 17, from Caister, Norfolk, died on November 20, a spokesman at the James Paget Hospital, Gorleston, confirmed.

Mr Stubbs was a student at Great Yarmouth College and it is understood the teenager’s funeral was held at the end of last month.

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Earlier this week the families of two teenagers struck down by vCJD won a High Court battle to allow them to receive controversial treatment - involving injections directly to the brain - previously tested only on animals with scrapie, which is similar to vCJD.

There are more than 120 definite and probable cases of vCJD in the UK. Presence of the disease can only be verified for certain with tests carried out once a sufferer has died.

Last month more than 300 haemophiliacs in Scotland received letters telling them that they had been treated with blood products made with plasma from a donor later found to have vCJD.

There is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted in humans through blood transfusions and other blood products, but the UK has imported plasma from the US and Germany as a precaution against vCJD for the past four years.

The Westminster government announced on Monday that it had paid almost 50 million to buy an American company that supplies plasma, to secure long-term stocks of the plasma, which is used to make products such as immunoglobulin, antibodies, and clotting factors. Plasma is the fluid that carries the blood around the body and is what remains once red blood cells are removed.

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