Search OCA
Get Local!

Scientists double estimate of BSE-infected cattle

October 10, 2002 The Independent (London) by Charles Arthur
SCIENTISTS HAVE doubled their estimates for the number of British cattle infected with BSE during the epidemic in the Nineties.

A team at Imperial College London reported that nearly two million animals had been infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy since the late 1980s. The previous estimate had been about 1.05 million animals. But Christl Donnelly, an epidemiologist who worked on the study, said the higher total was unlikely to increase the number of cases of the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)- the human form of BSE - because the chance of infection from an individual animal was lower than scientists had thought. "You can't say there is zero risk, but it is certainly far lower than it has been for 20 years," she said.

More than 100 people have died since 1995 of vCJD and the latest estimates suggest the total will grow slowly over the next 20 to 40 years.

Fears that blood donations from people who are infected with vCJD but not showing symptoms could spread the disease more widely are, however, taken seriously.

A new screening system is being developed, which could distinguish infected blood by detecting subtle chemical differences from normal samples. The system, being developed in Germany, would use a computer-controlled analysis of infected and healthy samples of blood to determine whether the infectious "prions" are present. It has already been tested successfully on blood from hamsters infected with scrapie, a disease closely related to BSE.

Fears of spreading vCJD through blood transfusions have led the Government to remove white blood cells from all donated blood, while the United States has stopped accepting donations from anyone who has been in Britain.

New Scientist magazine reports today that the new screening system being developed by a team led by Dieter Naumann at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin hopes to develop computer systems called "neural nets" which could perform high-speed analyses of blood samples to test for vCJD.

Home | News | Organics | GE Food | Health | Environment | Food Safety | Fair Trade | Peace | Farm Issues | Politics
Forum | Español | Campaigns | Buying Guide | Press | Search | Volunteer | Donate | About Us | Contact Us | Email This Page

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603
E-mail: Staff · Activist or Media Inquiries: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652
Please support our work. Send a tax-deductible donation to the OCA

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.
Please Support Our Sponsors!

Organic Valley

Organic
Valley

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

Dr. Bronner's
Magic Soaps

Botani Organic

Botani
Organic

Aloha Bay

Aloha Bay

Eden Organics

Eden Foods

Frey Vineyards

Frey
Vineyards

Intelligent Nutrients

Intelligent
Nutrients