Heartbroken Portsmouth mum welcomes fresh look at disease

FAMILY Christine Lord and her son Andrew on holiday in New York
FAMILY Christine Lord and her son Andrew on holiday in New York
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A WOMAN whose son died from the human form of mad cow disease has welcomed a new inquiry looking into the condition.

Christine Lord lost her son Andrew, then 24, to vCJD in 2007.

Now MPs on the science and technology select committee have launched an inquiry into the safety of blood and organ donation after hearing evidence of its dangers.

They will look at blood, tissue and organ screening over fears the disease may be spread this way.

And Ms Lord, who wrote a book about her son’s illness, has submitted evidence on her own tragic case.

The 56-year-old said: ‘There are thousands of people at risk of vCJD. The Health Protection Agency has stated that one in 2,000 of us carry vCJD. There is no idea of how many of us may go on to develop it. Many of them will be blood donors.

‘When Andrew was very ill he asked me to find out why he’d become so ill, who had been responsible and to make sure it never happened again.

‘Members of the inquiry have asked for copies of my book. It really is a big thing.’

The condition is caused by eating beef infected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy, known as BSE.

The incubation period of the disease is could be up to 50 years in humans.

Ms Lord, of Wilton Terrace, in Southsea, watched her formerly healthy son go blind, suffer dementia and became quadriplegic as a result of being infected with vCJD.

She added: ‘We can prevent further deaths if we screen all blood for vCJD.

‘I’m still heartbroken, I’ll never get over what happened to Andrew.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock praised Ms Lord’s tenacity in her campaign.

He said: ‘She needs to be complimented on the tenacity she’s found in keeping the campaign going.

‘The work she’s doing is going to pay off. All I hope is that people listen to her.’

Andrew Miller, chairman of the committee, said it was ‘extremely concerned’ after hearing evidence vCJD poses a significant risk.