* Irish health officials are in a spin since being informed that one blood donor, whose plasma was used to make polio vaccine, has a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). About 83,500 doses of the Evans/Medeva vaccine were distributed between January 1998 and January 1999. Evans/Medeva are the same firm who recently admitted that batches of their polio vaccine used in the early 1990s were also contaminated with the virus (Lancet, 2000; 356: 2167).

* A recent case report shows that parents must be ever vigilant for potential sources of child poisonings. A three year old child was admitted to hospital with a case of lead poisoning from eating snooker chalk. The child was treated and monitored for 30 months, when her blood lead levels returned to 'normal' (Arch Dis Child, 2000; 83: 519-20).