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First U.S. Human Mad Cow Patient Dies

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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jun 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The first and only person in the United States to develop the human form of mad cow disease has died in Florida.

Charlene Singh of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., died early Sunday morning, her aunt Sharon Singh-Passley, told United Press International Monday. Singh, 25, died from complications due to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease -- a fatal, incurable brain disorder humans can acquire from eating meat infected with the mad cow pathogen.

She had fought the disease for more than two years after being diagnosed in April, 2002. Health authorities concluded Singh, who lived in Britain until she was 12, contracted the disease while in England and it was not due to the consumption of U.S. beef.

Singh-Passley said she hoped Charlene's death would serve as a wake up call for the United States government to test more cows for mad cow disease to help prevent another human death.

"Charlene suffered an awful, awful, awful death," Singh-Passley said. "I'd hate to have to say one day I told you so. That would be my biggest regret."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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