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French teenager dies of vCJD

PARIS, France -- A French teenager believed to have been suffering from the human variant of mad cow disease has died after slowly losing the ability to walk, speak and breathe.

Arnaud Eboli, 19, died on Wednesday after fighting the brain-wasting ailment for more than two years, according to the Association of Victims of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

He is the third French person to die from variant CJD, a disease believed to be linked to the consumption of tainted beef.

In Britain, where mad cow disease was identified in 1995, 90 people have died of the disease.

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Eboli, a former athlete who excelled at skiing and martial arts, lost the ability to bathe or feed himself.

Before he died, he was paralysed and kept alive through a feeding tube.

Doctors diagnosed Eboli in 1999 after a biopsy of his tonsils detected traces of an infectious protein, prion, often found in people suffering from the disease.

The disease can only be confirmed by a brain biopsy, usually after death.

Eboli's family was one of two French families that filed a lawsuit in November charging that French, British and European Union authorities did not act quickly enough to wipe out mad cow disease.

The suit alleges that Eboli and Laurence Duhamel, who died in 1999 at age 36, were victims of poisoning and manslaughter.

Earlier this month the European Union added nine countries to a list of places where it says cattle herds could be harbouring mad cow disease.

In a report covering 28 countries, EU scientists added Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Albania, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Lithuania to the "at risk" list.

The decision was because of the "significant amounts" of live cattle and meat-and-bone meal they import from EU countries, many of which have been hit by the disease.

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Human BSE Foundation
World Health Organisation: BSE and vCJD factsheets
The British BSE Inquiry
The European Union

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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