Animal Disease and Human Health Risk
Is It Already Too Late?
If you have been eating beef and using other animal products for years is it already
too late? The answer is clearly no. It is probable that many people have not yet
been exposed to the prions that cause the transmissible encephalopathies. These individuals
could maintain their low risk of ever coming down with prion-related diseases by
completely avoiding animal products.
Some may not feel that they are ready to adopt a vegetarian diet. Others feel there is
no reason to do so because they have likely been exposed by this time to the infectious
prions. Even for these individuals there is good news. In the case of the transmissible
spongiform encephalopathies, the evidence suggests that the total amount of prion exposure
affects the incubation period of the disease.67 Specifically, in animal tests, the more
prions the creature is exposed to, the sooner it will tend to develop the disease. Of
course, no such study could ethically be done in humans. (An answer is also not likely
from observational studies because we have no way to measure or even estimate how much
BSE-infected meat any given person has eaten in his or her lifetime.)
However, in harmony with the existing animal research, it is expected that there will be
variations from one person to another in the delay time between eating prion-infected
material and contracting the disease. Perhaps someone who eats large amount of foods
containing prions will develop the disease in 10 years or less, while someone with
moderate, yet significantly less exposure may develop the condition in 15 to 20 years.
Another with still smaller exposure may not come down with the illness for 30 years or more.
Thus, even if a person is doomed to come down with a condition like CJD because of
previous exposure to prions, it may be possible to delay the onset of the disease
significantly.68 And do not forget: a diet that moves away from animal products
can dramatically provide an added reward by helping to decrease your risk of other
diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The epidemic of BSE in the United Kingdom has caused us to focus on four issues that
are more expansive than the disease itself. They are listed in Figure 14: Issues
Raised by BSE Epidemic.
There is evidence that governments worldwide have failed to vigorously address the
concerns of animal diseases and their impact on human health. Why wait until the
next epidemic strikes closer to home when the warning signals are already sounding?
Why should thousands more die prematurely from dementing diseases? Why not begin
making changes today that will decrease your risk of these diseases?
67 Lacey RW. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Bovine
spongiform encephalopathy is being maintained by vertical and horizontal transmission.
BMJ 1996 Jan;312(7024):180-181.
68 Dealler SF, Lacey RW. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies: the threat of BSE
to man. Food Microbiology 1990;7: 253-279.
Notice of Credit
The article above is compliments of the Uchee Pines Institute, Seale, Alabama, a teaching and
treatment facility devoted to natural remedies. For mor information, call 334-855-4781,e-mail:
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