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Volume 2 Published - 14:00 UTC    08:00 EST    07-January-2001      
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Back To Vidyya UK NHS Invests In Equipment To Cut Risk Of CJD Transmission

Injection Of &Pound;200 Million To Ensure That NHS Decontamination And Sterilization Services Are Modernized

A massive injection of £200 million is set to ensure that NHS decontamination and sterilization services are modernized so that all surgical equipment in hospitals is cleaned and sterilised to the highest possible standard to protect patients from a theoretical risk of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD).

This precautionary move is being made by the Department of Health as part of its plan to minimise the threat of the human form of BSE.

The cash will help to provide state-of-the-art sterilisers and washer disinfectors. Single use instruments will also be introduced for tonsil surgery during the coming year. This will further minimise the theroetical risk of vCJD transmission through surgery.

Health minister John Denham said: "We have no evidence of any patient being infected with vCJD in hospital. But while we are still learning about the progress of vCJD we should take precautions to reduce the theoretical risk of transmission to patients.

"Scientists tell us that the most effective way to prevent the potential spread of this disease in hospitals is by cleaning and sterilisation to the highest standards."

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Pat Troop said: "We still do not know how many people might be incubating vCJD. There is a theoretical risk that it could be passed on through surgical operations from those who have yet to show symptoms of the disease. The highest standards of decontamination are the cornerstone of our strategy to reduce the risks."

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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