Taiwan health authorities said on Thursday that they are investigating a suspected human case of mad-cow disease contracted from taking injections of bovine placenta.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said it needs further tests to determine if the patient, reported by the National Chengkung University Hospital, has contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or mad-cow disease.
"There has never been a case of contracting mad-cow disease from taking placenta shots. Taiwan allows placenta only in cosmetic products, not in shots. So if the patient took placenta shots, the shots were illegal," CDC Deputy Director Chou Chih-hao told reporters.
Sellers of illegal medicine can face a maximum 140,000 Taiwan dollar (4,000 US dollar) fine or a 10-year prison sentence. If the medicine has resulted in someone's death, the seller can face life sentence.
The National Chengkung University Hospital, in Tainan, south Taiwan, admitted Thursday that it has reported a suspected case of mad cow disease to the CDC.
According to the hospital, a patient developed signs of mad-cow disease 10 months ago and has now lost all physical functions except the eyes.
The hospital, at the order of CDC, has refused to release other information about the patient including gender.
Taiwan press quoted the patient's family members as saying that the patient had never gone abroad and never liked to eat the innards of animals, but had been taking bovine-placenta shots for a long time to look young.
Despite Taiwan's ban on placenta shots, many Taiwanese get the expensive shots from private clinics or go on "placenta tours" to receive the shots in Japan. They believe that taking placenta shots on a regular basis can improve health and preserve youth.
Last Mod: 30 Ağustos 2007, 17:41