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Animal Disease and Human Health Risk

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CJD Cases in the U.S.

There are CJD cases in our country among young adults,26 but at this writing they are not thought to be directly related to mad cow disease. However, the symptoms are not unlike the British form of CJD. It is always fatal, and is especially heart wrenching when family members watch such a young victim die. The symptoms are listed in Figure 7: Progression of Symptoms of CJD in Cases in the U.S..27, 28 The disease typically begins with mild symptoms that advance within a few weeks. The disease can then progress to the point where the patient can no longer function alone.

Almost Two Million Infected Cattle Eaten by the Year 2001

As tragic as the British deaths were, there was an even larger concern. Were we just glimpsing the beginning of a massive new epidemic? Will scores more come down with CJD because of BSE? These answers are not yet known. However, the amount of human exposure is staggering. Drs. Dealler and Kent have stated that by 2001, a conservative estimate of the number of infected cattle eaten by humans will be 1.8 million.29 This huge number represents healthy looking cattle that were incubating BSE at the time of their slaughter for beef purposes.

Mad Cow Disease Not Confined to Britain

Unfortunately, the problem does not appear to be confined to Britain. It has been found in several other countries, as shown in Figure 8: Countries where Prion-Infected Humans and Cows have been Found.30, 31 Over the past three years, CJD showed up in farm workers in France and Italy. Five cases were reported in France and three in Italy.32 Although the United States Department of Agriculture has not found BSE in U.S. cattle, there are questions as to whether it may be present in our country. We will turn our attention to this issue later in the chapter.

26 World Health Organization consultation on public health issues related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy and the emergence of a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1996 Apr 12;45(14):295-6, 303.

27 Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies. In: Lederberg J, editor. Encylcopaedia of Microbiology Volume 4. Rockefeller University; New York, NY:Academic Press, 1992 p. 299-309.

28 Isselbacher KJ, Braunwald E, et al, editors. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine--13th edition (CD-ROM version). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc. Health Professions Division, 1994.

29 Dealler SF, Kent JT. BSE: an update on the statistical evidence. British Food Journal 1995;97(8):3-18.

30 Pratt K. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Update. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS). U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1996 p. 1.

31 Conference on Emerging Infections at Harvard University. June, 1997.

32 USDA: APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: Implications for the United States. A Follow Up. February 1996. Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health. Fort Collins, Colorado. p. 4-5.

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:, or visit their Website:

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