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France’s Third Mad Cow Victim Dies

April 26, 2001

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PARIS (AP) _ A French teen-ager believed to have been suffering from the human variant of mad cow disease has died after slowly losing the ability to walk, speak and breathe.

Arnaud Eboli, 19, died Wednesday after fighting the brain-wasting ailment for more than two years, according to the Association of Victims of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

His death marks France’s third fatality from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is linked to the consumption of tainted beef. In Britain, where mad cow disease was identified in 1995, 90 people have died of the disease.

Eboli, once an athlete who excelled at skiing and martial arts, lost the ability to bathe or feed himself. Before he died, he was paralyzed and kept alive through a feeding tube.

Doctors diagnosed Eboli in Dec. 1999, after a biopsy of his tonsils detected traces of an infectious protein, prion, often found in people suffering from the disease. The disease can only be confirmed by a brain biopsy, usually after death.

Eboli’s family was one of two French families that filed a lawsuit in November charging that French, British and European Union authorities did not act quickly enough to wipe out mad cow disease.

The suit alleges that Eboli and Laurence Duhamel, who died in 1999 at age 36, were victims of poisoning and manslaughter.

France has taken drastic measures _ such as outlawing certain at-risk cuts of beef, like the T-bone steak _ to try to safeguard public health.

New cases of the animal ailment are expected to break out in France until 2002 _ five years after agriculture authorities took rigorous measures to prevent more outbreaks. About 150 cows were discovered with the disease in France last year, compared to 31 the year before.

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