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Deaths linked to Garden State

April 06, 2004

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A rash of deaths among people linked to the former Garden State Park has two New Jersey senators seeking a probe as to whether the cause could have been the result of eating mad cow-tainted meat.

According to an Associated Press story, the deceased all succumbed to the brain-destroying disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. New Jersey Senators Frank R. Lautenberg and Jon S. Corzine requested "an immediate and thorough investigation' in a letter they sent to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The request follows reports of a Cinnaminson accountant's research into nearly 20 people who worked at or frequented the Cherry Hill track between 1988 and 1992. All died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or neurological problems possibly caused by it, from 1995 until last month. Carol Olive, who worked in the track's publicity office, died of the disease last year. Also, an official with the New York Giants of the NFL, who frequented Garden State Park, died recently of the disease.

A story in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on March 28 featured the research being done by accountant Janet Skarbek, whose mother worked at Garden State and knew a colleague who died of the disease. Skarbek has documented 13 deaths, all listed as due to classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease on their death certificates, among residents of New Jersey and nearby states since 1995, who were track workers and patrons presumed to have eaten at the track's restaurant.
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