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Long-stayers in Europe to be disqualified as organ donors.

TOKYO, June 27 Kyodo

A health ministry committee on Wednesday decided to ban transplants of organs donated from those who have stayed six months or more since 1980 in European countries, to prevent Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) from spreading, the committee said.

The committee under the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry's Health Sciences Council said people who have stayed in any of seven European countries, including Britain, Germany and France, will be excluded as donors, and the ministry issued a notice to that effect.

Transplant surgeons and representatives of patients who need organ transplants opposed the committee's decision at the meeting, pointing to the shortage of organs.

However, Tetsuyuki Kitamoto, a doctor and professor of Tohoku University, noted that those who have stayed six months or more in Europe are already excluded from donating blood in Japan.

''If (we) make a wrong decision, (the mistake) may effect (patients) for 50 years from now,'' he said.

The ministry, in charge of transplants, accepted the committee's decision, saying the state might be sued if a patient turns out in 10 years' time to have been infected by CJD through an organ transplant.

The committee also decided at the meeting to simplify the procedure for ensuring organ donation is conducted properly.

At the same time, it decided the ministry should assign psychiatric experts to survey donors on their experience of providing organs.

CJD is a rare, fatal brain disorder that causes rapid, progressive dementia and associated neuromuscular disturbances.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Jul 2, 2001
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