spongiform encephalopathy in young humans

MATTHEW FRANCIS WETTLAUFER mattw at sfsu.edu
Thu Nov 16 02:18:12 EST 1995


Jorg Kirberg (kirberg at bii.ch) wrote:
: In article <47v112$b5p at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>, jcosta at pen.gulbenkian.pt
: (Vasconcelos Costa 385) wrote:

: > > From: kirberg at bii.ch (Jorg Kirberg)
: > > To: "bionet.virology mail newsgroup" <bionet-news at dl.ac.uk>
: > > Subject: Re: spongiform encephalopathy in young humans
: > > 
: > > * how can it make sense if man never got it from sheep before ? I would
: > > think that one still has to wait for more cases before a link between BSE
: > > and humans eating whatever from the U.K. cattles can be made.
: > > jorg
: > > 
: > Weak argument! The agent of BSE is no longer the scrapie agent, though it
: > probably originated from scrapie. Therefore, the modifications from scrapie
: > to BSE may have made it infectious for man, even if the scrapie agent is not.
: > 
: > Joao
: Well, I think my argument is at least stronger than the one that was made before
: and was erased from the thread. There was no 'sense', just a guess - that's all
: what I complained against.

: I fully agree to your statement 'the modifications from scrapie to BSE may
: have made it infectious for man, even if the scrapie agent is not.'
: But one needs to wait a bit more; just with two cases I would not like
: to rely on, scientifically spoken.

Excuse me, but it seems you found more issue with the way I said what I
said rather than the content.  As far as I can see you haven't made any
serious argument in response to my comments about a possible connection
between BSE and the two recent cases of CJD in the U.K.  Most scientists
familiar with prion etiology would not find issue with the comments I
made.  If you're not that familiar with the subject, then maybe drawing a
connection between BSE and human spongiform encephalopathy would seem
premature, if not bizarre.  But most people in this field know that prions
demonstrate repeatedly a capacity to make species leaps.  As for the two
cases of CJD, epidemiologically they are a cause for concern as this
disease carries an incidence rate of one per million and usually arises in
elderly people.  Both of these patients are teenagers, and both are inthe
same country.  This may not concern you but it should concern people
involved in the field. 
Please don't criticize me or my points unless you
have some substantial point to make that can help direct us in this
discussion.  I would more than welcome any information or data you may
have that can help enlighten me on this subject, as I claim to know very
little.  But finding fault with the way I say things seems to me a waste 
of time. 




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