HC Deb 08 April 1998 vol 310 cc365-7W
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of expenditure on road fuel in the NHS for(a) 1997–98 and (b) 1998–99. [37840]

Mr. Milburn

The available information covers expenditure on the road fuel usage covering approximately 90 per cent of the National Health Service. This is in the table.

correlations between the genetic changes in the prion protein of humans and the various routes of prion infection. [37870]

Ms Jowell

Apart from cases of iatrogenic Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease linked to medical interventions, the route of infection for human prion diseases is not known. There are currently no research findings to link directly the route of infection with the type of prion protein seen in human prion diseases.

The National CJD Surveillance Unit investigates the make-up of the prion protein gene in individuals affected by all types of CJD in parallel with their detailed surveillance activities. This work is ongoing and designed to give as much information as possible about potential routes of transmission and the genetic make-up of all individuals affected by the various types of CJD.

The most significant research into identifying different strains of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) published so far are: Molecular analysis of prion strain variation and the aetiology of new variant CJD" (Collinge et al, Nature 383, 24 October 1996) Transmission to mice indicate that "new variant" CJD is caused by the BSE agent" (Bruce et al, Nature, 389, 2 October 1997) The same prion strain causes nvCJD and BSE" (Hill, Collinge et al, Nature 389, 2 October 1997).

The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee considered the two sets of findings published in Nature on 2 October 1997 and concluded that they provided convincing evidence that the agent which causes nvCJD is the same as that which causes BSE. However the findings do not tell us anything about the mechanism by which nvCJD patients contracted the disease.