• Kyodo

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Relatives of two people who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease filed a damages suit Wednesday against the government and the importer and maker of tainted medical goods allegedly responsible for the fatal disorder.

Lodged with the Otsu District Court, the suit demands about 220 million yen in compensation from the government, Japanese importer Nihon B.S.S., and B. Braun Melsungen AG, a German medical equipment manufacturer.

Among the plaintiffs are two relatives of a man from Yokaichi, Shiga Prefecture, who contracted CJD in 1990 via a tainted dura mater transplant in 1986 and died in 1992 at age 40. Dura mater is the fibrous membrane forming the outermost covering of the brain and spinal cord.

The others are three relatives of a woman from Tsu, Mie Prefecture, who underwent a similar operation in 1985 and died last year at 51 after contracting the disease in 1999.

The plaintiffs claim the government failed to take appropriate measures to stop the importation of tainted dura mater products despite knowing of the danger of contamination.

The suit is the fifth of its kind filed at the court, lawyers for the plaintiffs said. The number of patients in CJD lawsuits is now 22, with 13 represented in suits in Otsu and nine in litigation before the Tokyo District Court.

The four other Otsu suits are expected to conclude in July.

CJD is a rare, fatal brain disorder that causes rapid, progressive dementia and associated neuromuscular disturbances.

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