BSE and CJD

Dave Curtis dcurtis at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
Wed Apr 3 00:18:57 EST 1996


Dr Richard Stitson <rnms at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

>I think HMG recommendations re BSE/CJD smack of a conspiracy on a 
>massive scale. Take the following recommendations: Older Cattle (>30 
>months) will be slaughtered first and offal from calves (<6 months) 
>(with a few exceptions) is exempt from the ban on being consumed by 
>humans. Now, assuming vertical transmission ie cross placenta or in 
>milk (BSE positive cows are still allowed to produce/feed young even 
>if thier milk is not drunk by humans) is possible, then consider the 
>following hypothetical parallel:

>Given a genetic disorder (ie "acquired at or around birth") with a 
>variable but late onset (ie starting in teens with a peak in middle 
>age). If there was a population/pedigree with a high disease incidence  
>and you had to marry/ reproduce with a symptomless member - who would 
>you choose, a teenager or an OAP?
>Look at it this way, a symptomless teenager carries the population 
>risk of having the disease but an OAP without symptoms is less likely 
>to go on an develop the condition.

>The same applies to BSE - in an infected herd, an old cow that does 
>not show signs of BSE is less likely to be infected than a calf.

>Are we the subject of a massive experiment into Transmissible 
>Spongiform Encephalopathies???
>Any commments people?

Essentially I agree with you. There's very little evidence to show
younger cattle are safer - they just haven't developed the (clinical)
disease yet. HMG seem sto have been remarkably reluctant to develop an
assay for preclinical infection and apply it to screen beef - this is
similar to Sheila Gore's view. If I was in Europe I wouldn't be
accepting these phoney reassurances, and I certainly wouldn't regard
beef < 30 months as safe if older beef isn't.


Dave Curtis
http://www.gene.ucl.ac.uk/~dcurtis




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