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Woman With ‘Mad Cow’ Donated Eyes

November 30, 1997

LONDON (AP) _ Scottish health authorities are investigating how tissue from the eyes of a woman who had suffered from the human form of ``mad cow disease″ was transplanted into three other people.

``We are aware there is a potential infection risk from tissue retrieved from a patient in Scotland,″ a spokesman for the government Scottish Office said Saturday on customary condition of anonymity.

``We do not know the full facts, but we are making urgent inquiries into how this could have occurred,″ he said.

The 53-year-old woman suffered from lung cancer, but after she died a post-mortem examination showed she also had Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease. The brain-destroying disease is the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which afflicts cattle and is known as ``mad cow disease.″

No further details were given on the grounds of patient confidentiality.

But the tabloid Sunday Mail said the post-mortem findings were not passed on to officials handling organ donor arrangements, and parts of her eyes, including the corneas, were transplanted into two men and a woman in her eighties.

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