UK Predicts Massive Increase in Human "Mad Cow" Deaths

UK says human toll from "mad cow" crisis will grow

LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Britain said on Sunday the number of people
who will die from the human form of "mad cow" disease could grow "much,
much larger," but denied it was putting the public at greater risk by
easing food safety controls.

Agriculture Secretary Nick Brown, speaking the day after a 14-year-old
girl died of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), declined to
comment on reports that the death toll could top 100,000. Around 80
people are known to have died so far.

"We don't know. The range of predictions are coming down, but these are
just predictions," Brown told BBC TV's Breakfast with Frost programme.

Last week Brown announced plans to compensate victims of the disease in
response to an official report concluding the government had misled the
public for years about the dangers of British beef and the chances of
BSE being spread to humans.

"When we took the decision to enhance the care package for the victims
of human BSE...we were very mindful that the numbers to whom this would
apply could be much, much larger than they are now," Brown said.

Zoe Jeffries, a 14-year-old who appeared on television this week to
highlight the plight vCJD sufferers, died on Saturday.

On the same day, scientists at the National CJD Surveillance Unit in
Edinburgh said a 74-year-old man died from vCJD last year. Most known
vCJD victims had been younger people.

Government adviser Professor Roy Anderson told the Independent newspaper
that the news could trigger a major re-evaluation of the crisis, saying
his computer predictions had forecast that up to 6,000 people had been
infected between 1980 and 1996. Now that figure could rise as high as

Brown said a report in the Independent on Sunday that Britain had
scrapped a six-year ban on potentially dangerous offal from calves
getting into the food chain did not mean "powerful public protection
measures" were being dismantled.

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