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Japan confirms first mad cow case

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Mad cow disease

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- A Japanese man who died in December is believed to be the first person in Japan to die of the human variant of mad cow disease, Japanese Health Ministry officials said.

The man, said to be in his 50s, is believed to have become infected with the disease during a month-long visit to Britain in 1989, the officials said.

"(We base this on) the facts that most of the human BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) cases were found among the people who stayed in Britain during 1980 through the 1990s and that he had no record of a blood transfusion," a Health Ministry official said.

The man developed typical symptoms of the human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in December, 2001, the official said.

The Health Ministry said there were no concerns of any others infections from this case since there have been no instances of human to human infections, said the ministry official.

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