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Family man dies from CJD

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A KENT man has died from sporadic CJD - a rare brain disease with no known cause. The victim, a family man from Hadlow, near Tonbridge, was struck down with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease a few months ago.

Now a new call has been made for more research into disease. The number of Kent people who have died of the disease in the last 10 years is almost at double figures.

The man, whose identity has been withheld at the request of his family, lived just four miles from East Peckham where Clare Tomkins died of CJD at the age of 24 in 1998.

Clare suffered from new variant or vCJD, known as the human form of mad cow disease and believed to be caused by eating infected beef.

A link between sporadic CJD and BSE is only one of many theories being studied by scientists. Clare's father, Roger Tomkins, who has campaigned tirelessly for more public information and scientific research into all forms of CJD, said: "It is a tragic disease, particularly in that the onset and speed of death with sporadic CJD is far quicker than vCJD."

Mr Tomkins, who has moved to Norfolk since his daughter's death, added: "Although research is continuing, so far the cause of sporadic CJD is unknown, which must be frustrating for the families concerned. It is most important to highlight these continuing deaths of sporadic CJD, since doing so will serve to spur on the much-needed research into the origins of this terrible disease."

CJD, a generic term for several forms of the disease, is estimated to occur at the rate of about one new case per million people. It was first recorded in the 1920s but the emergence in the mid-1980s of vCJD and the link with BSE put the disease into the spotlight.

There was a cluster of cases in the Ashford area and a suggestion that the first case of BSE might have been discovered in that part of the county.

Sporadic CJD affects adults usually between the ages of 50 and 75 years and although scientists recognise a transmissible agent is responsible for causing this form of the disease, its exact origins remain a mystery.

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