Document Directory

12 Apr 01 - CJD - South Africa becomes first to approve blood substitute
12 Apr 01 - CJD - Diseased Euro cattle puts strain on Australian herds
12 Apr 01 - CJD - S Africa to use blood substitute from cows
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Foot-And-Mouth Pyres Could Spread BSE And vCJD, Says Green Doctor
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Warning of BSE risk from burning pyres
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Mad Cow crisis for Madrid vultures
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Bush Seeks More Funds to Keep Out Animal Diseases
11 Apr 01 - CJD - British tourism expects major disease loss
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Making TRACKS - The Lonely Planet team answers your travel questions
11 Apr 01 - CJD - BSE inquiry 'left Maff drained of resources'
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Cornell University taking precautions against cow disease
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Senate Commissions Mad Cow Bill
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Fertiliser ban BSE prospect
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Australian Cattle Prices Soar, But Hearts Heavy
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Teen chic causes drop in number of blood donors
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Food Animal News
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Cow diseases may affect leather prices
11 Apr 01 - CJD - Mad Cows gore leather fans
11 Apr 01 - CJD - German-imported cattle euthanized, tested for BSE
08 Apr 01 - CJD - Senate hears testimony on Mad Cow disease
08 Apr 01 - CJD - Study: Mad Cow Risk Low
08 Apr 01 - CJD - AMIF president says proactive measures have prevented BSE in U.S
08 Apr 01 - CJD - Europe's Mad Cow scare offers a boost to Texas emu market
08 Apr 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cow' blood risk for humans, study shows

12 Apr 01 - CJD - South Africa becomes first to approve blood substitute


PA News--Thursday 12 April 2001

South Africa has become the first country to approve a solution that can be used in place of blood in transfusions.

The solution, Hemopure, acts like red blood cells, carrying oxygen to the body's tissues. It is made by US firm Biopure.

South Africa's Medicines Control Council approved the solution to treat acute anaemia in surgery patients.

Hemopure is made using haemoglobin from cows' blood that has had all its proteins removed and then is purified. Carl Rausch, from Biopure, said the process prevents the transmission to humans of bovine diseases, including Mad Cow disease.

However, some researchers have raised fears that any medical product made from animals presents a risk of introducing new diseases to people.

Donor blood must be refrigerated and can only be stored for 42 days, while Hemopure can be stored at room temperature and last for two years.

Side effects include slightly increased risk of stomach pain, weakness, hypertension, jaundice and nausea. But its problems are no greater than those associated with regular blood transfusions, Biopure officials said.

Dr. Luc Noel, co-ordinator for blood transfusion safety at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, said Hemopure could be an important substitute for blood transfusions in developing countries with shortages of safe blood, provided the product is reasonably priced.

He also cautioned that its use must be closely monitored to detect unforeseen side effects.

Biopure, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, plans to file an application this year for approval of Hemopure in the United States and Europe.

12 Apr 01 - CJD - Diseased Euro cattle puts strain on Australian herds


PA News--Thursday 12 April 2001

Australian farmers are running out of cows because demand has risen sharply due to diseases in European livestock.

Queensland state Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk, says that despite good seasonal conditions the demand for live cattle for overseas markets is likely to outstrip production.

He says the increased demand is being driven by the foot-and-mouth outbreak and BSE.

He commented: "We are sympathetic to the plight of producers in Europe and the United Kingdom but this has created opportunities for our beef producers."

Australia is seeking to boost live cattle sales to Asian markets including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Mr Palaszczuk, who is to go no a trade mission to Asia soon, said: "These trips are part of the government's Global Beef Alliances push, which is paving the way for expansion in live cattle and... Beef exports."

Queensland is Australia's biggest beef state with cattle and beef exports worth Aus$126 million.

12 Apr 01 - CJD - S Africa to use blood substitute from cows

James Meek science correspondent

Guardian--Thursday 12 April 2001

A fluid made from the blood of American cows will soon be running through the veins and arteries of patients in South Africa after the country became the first to sanction the use of non-human haemoglobin in blood transfusions.

The fluid, christened Hemopure by its US makers, falls short of being artificial blood. But for a short time it can be infused into patients and pumped by the heart as a stand-in for blood's most vital function, carrying oxygen around the body.

South Africa faces a critical shortage of blood for transfusions because of the high level of HIV infection among its population, 25% of which is thought to be HIV positive.

Hemopure's makers, Biopure of Cambridge, Massachusetts, claim that the product is so intensively screened and processed - it goes through 22 stages of purification - that it cannot pass on viruses or the rogue proteins thought to be responsible for new variant CJD, the human form of BSE.

It can be given to humans of any blood type.

Donor blood has to be refrigerated and can only be stored forsix weeks, while Hemopure can be stored for two years at room temperature.

There is a risk of side effects, including stomach pain, weakness, hypertension, jaundice and nausea, but Biopure says normal blood transfusions also have the samerisks.

Hemopure has not yet been licensed in Europe or the US, where regulators await the results of clinical trials. Biopure spokesman Douglas Sales said yesterday that the South Africans had been satisfied with those trials' preliminary data.

It is not known how much the fluid will cost, although the firm said it would charge developing countries less than they would affluent countries.

Michael Thomas, the clinical director of Britain's Blood Care Foundation, said that despite Biopure's reassurances there were likely to be concerns in this country about the CJD risk, the danger of an immune reaction to cow molecules, and the potential side effects of artificial blood substitutes.

But he added that bovine haemoglobin worked better than its pure human equivalent when it came to moving oxygen around the body.

And artificial blood substitutes, he said, are likely to be adopted worldwide eventually.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Foot-And-Mouth Pyres Could Spread BSE And vCJD, Says Green Doctor


YAHOO--Wednesday 11 April 2001

This press release is transmitted on behalf of the Green Party The Green Party today warned that pyres burning cattle and pigs could spread a new wave of BSE to farm animals, and of new variant Creutzfelt-Jacob disease to humans.

Dr Richard Lawson, a West Country GP and the Green Party's foot-and-mouth campaign coordinator, has discovered major flaws in a MAFF paper on the subject [1].

Dr Lawson, who has re-analysed data supplied to MAFF, explained: "The paper used data from incinerators and extrapolated to pyres.

This was wrong.

It also neglected to examine the risks to key groups such as nearby residents and people working on the pyres." He added: "Between one and 14 million lethal doses of prions (the agent that causes BSE and vCJD) could be released into the areas close to the pyres if MAFF continues with its kill-and-burn policy." The Green Party has published a comprehensive set of recommendations concerning the threat from pyres and the need to replace the kill-and-burn policy with vaccination, including: Immediate tests on samples of pyre smoke, soil and vegetation by independent scientists.

Simultaneous analysis for the presence of viable foot-and-mouth disease picorna virus in the smoke.

Cessation of burning because of risks from the carcinogens and prions in the smoke.

The alternative, burial, is also environmentally dangerous since it will contaminate the ground and surface waters with high BOD and disinfectant, but it is the lesser of the two evils.

Especially stringent precautions applied in those areas where there is high manganese level in the soil.

Due to the environmental effects of the disposal problem, the slaughter policy should be abandoned and vaccination used instead.

Note: [1].

"Assessment of Risk due to BSE infectivity from Burning Cattle", prepared on 28 February 2001 for MAFF by CNV Consulting.

UNS Contact: Further information, including technical briefing, from Dr Richard Lawson on 01934 835140, or Spencer Fitz-Gibbon at Green Party press office on 0161 225 4863,

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Warning of BSE risk from burning pyres


YAHOO--Wednesday 11 April 2001

The familiar sight of slaughter pyres scattered throughout the British countryside may be harbouring a more sinister threat than just an offensive stink, warn environmentalists.

The Green Party's foot-and-mouth campaign co-ordinator, Dr Richard Lawson, has cautioned that the cull-and-burn policy could cause a surge in the spread of BSE and variant Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Dr Lawson criticised MAFF's recent paper on animal disposal practices, saying, "The paper used data from incinerators and extrapolated to pyres. This was wrong. It also neglected to examine the risks to key groups such as nearby residents and people working on the pyres."

He said the robust prions that cause "Mad Cow disease" are not destroyed when the animal carcasses are burned. He estimated that between 1 and 14 million lethal doses of the prions could be released into areas surrounding the pyres. While there has been criticism about the threat to rare animal breeds posed by the blanket slaughter policy, there has been little focus on the long-term consequences on human health.

The warning comes at a time when the government is under mounting pressure to implement a vaccination programme for livestock. A spokesperson for MAFF said that vaccination was still regarded as a contingency policy that is ready for delivery but has not yet been authorised.

The Green Party has published a set of recommendations calling for the immediate testing of pyre smoke, soil and vegetation for the presence of foot-and-mouth and BSE infection, and an end to the burning policy. It says that while burial is marginally preferable to incineration, the threat to underground water supplies means that both should be abandoned in favour of vaccination.

Dr David Mackay, a veterinary medicine director for MAFF, said that the risk of contamination was being blown out of proportion. He said, "Livestock produce a lot more virus than carcasses put on a pyre. The virus goes into every tissue but by the time the bone marrow is broken open in the heat of the pyre, the risk of spread of the virus is very, very slight."

He added that while un-ruptured blisters may present a risk, there is no conclusive evidence that the mass cremations are a major source for spreading the virus.

The latest figures show that the total number of foot-and-mouth cases has reached 1,134, with 29 new cases confirmed yesterday (08/04/01).

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Mad Cow crisis for Madrid vultures


YAHOO--Wednesday 11 April 2001

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish officials plan to dump tonnes of sheep carcasses in the mountains around Madrid to help local vultures which face starvation due to the Mad Cow crisis.

Spain, home to some 90 percent of Europe's vultures including some endangered species, has banned the dumping of cattle carcasses to stem the spread of Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

"These birds, which live fundamentally on carcasses, have seen their food disappear to an alarming degree," the environmental office of the Madrid regional government said on its website.

By dumping more than 83 tonnes of dead sheep a year in the mountain ranges near the capital, the regional government hopes to secure the future of Madrid's estimated 458 vultures.

Spain's Ornithological Association welcomed the move but said close monitoring of vultures was needed. "It's important we keep an eye on the supplies as a fall in food could have a big impact on these species," a spokesman said.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Bush Seeks More Funds to Keep Out Animal Diseases

By Charles Abbott

YAHOO--Wednesday 11 April 2001

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush proposed a hefty increase in annual funding on Monday to keep costly and dangerous animal ailments such as foot-and-mouth or Mad Cow disease out of the United States.

In documents laying out his spending plan for fiscal 2002, the president asked for $393 million for pest and disease exclusion work at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a 12 percent increase. The agency is part of the U.S. Agriculture Department.

USDA inspectors at airports, harbors and border crossings are the first line of defense against the arrival of dangerous pests and diseases. The importance of their work was underscored by this year's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration, which sets and polices animal feed regulations aimed at preventing any outbreak of Mad Cow, would get a 10 percent funding boost under the Bush plan, which specifically mentions FDA's Mad Cow role.

The fight against exotic pests was one of the few areas in the USDA earmarked for larger funding by the White House. Overall USDA spending would drop by $6.3 billion, to $63.25 billion, because there was no agreement on a bailout for farmers facing low grain prices for a fourth year in a row, according to the Bush budget proposal.

Farm groups say $9 billion, about the same as last year, will be needed. The Senate, as part of its annual nonbinding budget resolution, voted last week to allow $5 billion for a farm rescue. The House has voted to let agriculture tap a $500 billion contingency fund.

``Farm conditions are improving,'' the budget documents said, pointing to modest increases in crop prices and farm income. ''However, the 2002 budget provides a reserve fund that could be used to provide emergency support.''

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said the budget documents presented a picture that was ``almost exactly the same'' as an outline released at the end of February, but with more detail.

Congress will spend the next months finalizing a federal spending plan for fiscal 2002, which begins on Oct. 1.

To keep foot-and-mouth disease from infecting U.S. herds, the government has stepped up inspections at international airports to prevent European visitors from carrying the virus into the country. Washington has banned imports of raw meat products, live animals, used farm equipment and some dairy products from Europe.

Although the foot-and-mouth virus rarely threatens humans, it cripples pigs, cattle, sheep and goats for months and sharply reduces milk and meat production.

Budget documents also said the USDA's Agricultural Research Service ``will develop one or more BSE (Mad Cow) tests that will be ready for field evaluation in 2002.'' The ultimate goal was a method of rapid detection of BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, in live animals.

Mad Cow disease is unrelated to foot-and-mouth disease, and is fatal to animals and humans who contract it.

The spending proposal also included some $716 million for USDA's meat inspection program, an increase of $21 million. About 7,600 inspectors oversee 6,000 U.S. meatpacking and processing plants to ensure meat is safe.

The White House budget for fiscal 2002 also proposed:

+ Closing or merging more of the department's 5,600 local offices.

+ Saving $200 million by ending programs that were no longer needed or duplicative.

+ Reviewing concessional sales made through the ``Food for Peace'' program. Administration officials outside of the department are skeptical of the benefits of the sales.

+ Cutting off federal money for new loans through the Rural Telephone Bank.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - British tourism expects major disease loss

By Jeremy Lovell

YAHOO--Wednesday 11 April 2001

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's lucrative tourist industry faces a dismal Easter and summer as the foot-and-mouth epidemic scares off foreigners and either keeps locals indoors or prompts them to flee abroad.

As the government reopens national parks that had been closed in a bid to contain the epidemic, airports are seeing a rush of late bookings while hotels and guest houses report a slump.

"Hotel bookings are down 20 percent nationally, but some guest houses are reporting 100 percent cancellations," Ken Kelling, spokesman for the English Tourism Council, which caters for domestic tourists, told Reuters on Wednesday.

He said the British Tourist Authority, which focuses on foreign visitors, had calculated a loss to the national coffers of up to 2.5 billion pounds if it took to the end of the year to eradicate the disease.

Officials say the epidemic is now starting to tail off, but Kelling said it could take years to woo back the lost foreign tourists. These have been scared off by a combination of foot- and- mouth (and misplaced fears it could infect humans), the previous Mad Cow epidemic and the strong pound.


Culture Secretary Chris Smith told BBC Radio the decline in foreign bookings was due to grossly exaggerated media reports in the United States and Europe where images of funeral pyres of animal carcasses and barred-off footpaths are daily fare.

The foot-and-mouth outbreak is now in its eighth week but three other European countries have suffered on a smaller scale -- the Netherlands has 22 infected sites, France two and Ireland one.

Top British scientists are expected to say in the next few days whether there is a sound basis for increasingly optimistic government statements on the course of the disease.

The number of infected sites rose by 41 on Tuesday to a total of 1,205. About 890,000 infected or suspect animals have been slaughtered and nearly 480,000 are still waiting to be killed.

The government imposed a ban on the movement of animals without licence to rein in the spread of the disease, but one local farmers' leader said on Wednesday breaking the law was warranted to ease the suffering of animals trapped in waterlogged fields.

However, the government has announced plans to ease restrictions imposed to contain the foot-and-mouth epidemic and allow more farmers to get their livestock to market.

Junior agriculture minister Baroness Hayman said farmers in infected zones whose own premises and animals were not contaminated with the highly contagious disease would soon be able to sell their livestock, subject to tight controls.

"Farmers on premises not infected but in controlled zones will be able to move animals into the food chain," she said.

The new system, which should come into effect on April 23, depended on licences being granted to local abattoirs to slaughter the livestock, Hayman told reporters.

She declined to say how many farms would be affected, saying the deal relied on agreement from regional slaughterhouses.

"But it's going to be a lot of farms," she said. "It allows more British meat onto the British markets". British livestock exports remain banned.

Ninety-two percent of normal British pork production is currently reaching the market. But only 81 percent of beef production and just 44 percent of sheep and lamb is getting through, Hayman said.

She said the government also planned to decrease the size of three infected areas around Northampton and Melton Mowbray in central England and Somerset in the southwest of the country.

The step would free up 2,098 farms currently trapped by tight movement restrictions to apply for licences to move their livestock to market.

Up to 50,000 licences have been issued since the devastating disease broke out more than seven weeks ago. More than 1,200 cases of foot-and-mouth have been confirmed in Britain and the virus has appeared in France, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Hayman said the government was also looking at speeding up the issue of the movement licences in uninfected areas by letting local vets grant approval.

"As we understand the disease better...we can tailor the regimes differently in different areas," she said.

Responding to opposition Conservative calls for extra slaughtermen to be trained to deal with the backlog of hundreds of thousands of animals waiting to be killed, she said 120 army personnel had already received training, 14 were currently being trained and another 50 were lined up for training after Easter.


Meanwhile the Guardian said on Wednesday the government foresaw a major reduction in the number of farms and farmers as part of a recovery package for the industry.

It said ministers expected that by 2005 one quarter of farms, mostly small subsistence units, would have closed or merged, with 50,000 people forced to leave the industry.

The newspaper said the Agriculture Ministry would publish three reports on a long-term structural crisis in British farming.

The reports, central to the government's strategy for agriculture, were likely to argue that large- scale farms tended to be more productive, and were more likely to compete successfully in an increasingly liberalised trade in world food.

Although Britain has so far chosen mass slaughter as the way to combat the disease, EU farm ministers called on Tuesday for a review in future of the bloc's policy on using vaccination to battle foot-and-mouth.

While EU countries remain opposed to widespread inoculation against the highly infectious and financially devastating virus, many want to reopen a debate on the use of vaccines after the current outbreak is over.

Many countries refuse to import meat from areas where foot-and-mouth vaccines are used. A vaccination programme could halt a region or country's meat exports for at least a year, EU officials have said.

Foot-and-mouth afflicts cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, sheep and cattle by causing severe weight loss. It has little or no effect on humans. The disease can be spread on people's clothing and by the wind.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Making TRACKS - The Lonely Planet team answers your travel questions

Staff Reporter

The Age--Wednesday 11 April 2001-04-11

Q MY mother and I are travelling to the UK and Europe later this year on package tours and staying independently in London. We are concerned by the threat posed by foot and mouth disease and Mad Cow disease. We would like to know what we can eat and what risks we are taking by proceeding with our trip.

Judith Way, via e-mail

A BOTH these disease outbreaks have had a marked effect on tourism to the UK and, to a lesser extent, Europe. Mad Cow disease presents a risk through consumption of infected beef, and foot and mouth disease may restrict your movements within the UK but is not a direct threat to your health.

Mad Cow disease is a derivative of the animal disease known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and manifests itself in humans as a form of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob brain disease (vCJD). The disease has moved from cows to humans and since 1996 has lead to the death of 80 people in Britain and one person in France.

Despite disagreement on exactly how it acts, scientists agree that the most likely link to humans came through people eating beef contaminated with BSE. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified 168,000 cases of BSE in cattle in Britain and some cases in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.

The governments of each country assure travellers that the risks of contracting the disease through consumption of meat is very small, however if you wish to minimise your exposure then removing British and European beef from your diet while travelling is the safest option. You can keep track of daily updates on the status of Mad Cow disease at the following Web site:

Foot and mouth disease is a livestock condition, which, among other things, can be spread through clothing, footwear and camping equipment contaminated with disease-carrying soil. To try to stop the spread of this epidemic, the British Government decided to restrict the movement of both tourists and locals in regional areas.

At present, many parts of rural Britain and the country's national parks are off-limits to locals and tourists alike. Restrictions are gradually lifting, and to encourage visitors back to Britain's countryside, the government announced an advertising campaign which indicates that all canals, 350 historic properties and possibly some footpaths will be reopened.

Travellers are still free to move around cities and townships, so package tours will still be operating. Foot and mouth has been identified in cattle in France, the Netherlands and now Ireland, but these countries have not yet taken action to restrict tourists.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - BSE inquiry 'left Maff drained of resources'

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Telegraph--Wednesday 11 April 2001

The huge drain of resources caused by the BSE inquiry was blamed for the delay in predicting the spread of foot and mouth disease yesterday.

Evidence suggests that the Ministry of Agriculture may have been even slower to react than first thought. It refused to discuss its computer model of the spread, an important tool to help to curb the epidemic, in the days after the first case was confirmed on Feb 20.

Yesterday, it was learnt that its software, bought two years ago, was not working. Prof Roger Morris, of Massey University, New Zealand, said the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and Maff were working with Massey to set up EpiMAN. It was not working on Feb 20 because of the drain on resources by the BSE inquiry.

Prof Morris said: "If a figure equal to the 16 million the BSE inquiry cost had been spent on preparedness for disease outbreaks and epidemiological work, we would be in a much better position now to deal with foot and mouth disease. This outbreak is a timely reminder that the serious cuts in veterinary resources in recent years in many countries can cost very dearly over a short time."

Four New Zealand experts were sent to work with British colleagues to get EpiMAN running. Prof Morris said it took only four days, by cutting corners, to introduce data to get the software working. EpiMAN has been in use since March 1. He backed the view that Maff was slow to respond to evidence that the disease was out of control, which may have allowed the epidemic to grow substantially.

It had been thought that the first indications from epidemiologists that Maff had lost control of the epidemic came on March 15-16. Prof Morris suggests that these came substantially before March 21, when it was calculated that the epidemic would double every eight days unless control measures were tightened.

Around that time, firm action was taken to control the disease.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Cornell University taking precautions against cow disease

Associated Press 11 April 2001

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) -- With foot-and-mouth disease running rampant in Great Britain, Cornell University has decided to ban guest visits to two of its animal research facilities.

"There is no problem of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States, and we want to keep it that way," said Larry Chase, associate professor of animal science at Cornell. "People in the industry are being very conservative, and other universities are doing similar things."

The new plan, which went into effect March 28, requires that only authorized university employees be allowed into the dairy, beef and sheep units at the Teaching and Research Center and the Swine Farm.

"This ban will remain in force until further notice," Alan Bell, chairman of animal science at Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said in a memorandum to employees. "It will not be removed until we are convinced that the present European outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been controlled."

In animals such as cows, sheep and pigs, which have split hoofs, the disease causes blisters in the mouth and feet, making it painful for the animals to eat or walk. In young animals, the disease can be fatal, but most adult animals recover from the blisters.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Senate Commissions Mad Cow Bill

Associated Press

Our World--Wednesday 11 April 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has authorized a commission of high-ranking officials to coordinate efforts to keep mad-cow and foot-and-mouth diseases out of the United States.

A bill passed Thursday night would bring together agriculture, health and safety officials to ensure that the government is doing everything it can to keep the bovine diseases out of the country, said Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the bill's co-sponsors.

"Fortunately, we have an animal and public health system that has successfully prevented either of these diseases from entering our country," Harkin said. "We must make doubly sure there are no gaps in our defenses."

Added Hatch: "The bottom line is that we want to ensure that the U.S. food supply is safe."

The bill now goes to the House.

Mad-cow, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is linked to a human braIndependentwasting disease that has killed some 80 Europeans since the mid-1990s, mostly in Britain. Cases have been reported in France, Portugal, Germany, Spain and Ireland.

Foot-and-mouth disease is harmless to humans but is highly destructive to herds.

"The United States has been free of foot-and-mouth since 1929, and our goal is to keep it that way," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told President Bush on Wednesday.

The commission proposed by the Senate would be made up of high-ranking officials such as the secretaries of agriculture, commerce, health and human services and treasury departments, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner and the directors of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

After the commission is created, it would submit a report to Congress saying what steps are being taken to keep the diseases out of the country and what legislative steps still need to be taken.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Fertiliser ban BSE prospect

Otago Daily Times--Wednesday 11 April 2001

Wellington: Agriculture officials say New Zealand livestock farmers may be stopped from using fertilisers such as blood and bone because of concerns about Mad Cow disease.

Some officials fear the use of ground up sheep and cattle to fertilise pastures grazed by other sheep and cattle could leave open an avenue for spreading the disease if it were to occur in New Zealand livestock.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Maf) has won European recognition that it is "highly unlikely" that domestic cattle are infected with the disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

The European Union assessors have said New Zealand will remain highly unlikely to have infected cattle, "assuming New Zealand can continue preventing the BSE-agent from entering the country".

The report said the New Zealand BSE/cattle system was extremely "unstable" until 1996.

A scientific panel set up by the Government to look into BSE in 1996 called for a ban on ruminant protein in feedmeals, and a voluntary ban was introduced to stop it being fed to cud-chewing animals.

Maf officials later admitted it "may not have been fully effective" because there was no way to monitor compliance.

Britain had banned ruminant meatmeal from July 1988.

New Zealand's biosecurity regulations on ruminant protein came into effect at the beginning of last year, and the EU review said this increased the "stability" to some extent.

Most recently, consumers in some European markets have started questioning whether any animal protein should be fed to any livestock, or blood and bone from farm animals used as a farm fertiliser.

Maf officials dispute the idea of a blanket ban on animal protein going to animals such as pigs and chickens as not backed up by science, but said yesterday they were seriously considering the risk of blood and bone.

"It's definitely of concern," risk analysis manager Stuart MacDiarmid said yesterday. - NZPA

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Australian Cattle Prices Soar, But Hearts Heavy

By Michael Perry 11 April 2001

SINGLETON, Australia (Reuters) - The dusty Singleton sale yards are a world away from the green patchwork of rural Britain, where burning cattle carcasses litter the landscape.

But foot-and-mouth disease weighs heavily on the minds of the Australian cattlemen as they lean against the rails.

Australian cattle prices are at a record high thanks to a sinking Australian dollar and Mad Cow disease in Europe, fetching more than A$1,000 (US$493) a head.

Yet the cattlemen who gathered for the weekly sale are not gloating at their good fortune, for they know that life on the land, in Australia or Britain, can be cruel.

``Its terrible. I don't known how they can cope,'' says 76-year-old cattleman Eric Hancock, as tears swell in his clear blue eyes and he tugs his long gray beard.

``I feel a lot of sorrow for those unfortunate blokes. You breed cattle all your life and get a good herd and that hits you and it's the end of the line,'' says Hancock.

``If it ever started here mate, you might as well give the game away. With Australia's wild cattle, deer, camels and pigs you'd never control it, the country would be crippled.''

Australia's last outbreak of foot and mouth was in 1872.

On a sunny day in early April, a thousand head of fat cattle, ready for the abattoir, gathered in the maze of small pens at the Singleton saleyard, 90 miles northwest of Sydney.

Cattlemen in battered Akubra rabbit-felt hats and manure-splattered jeans and riding boots wander slowly past the pens, silently studying the beasts through squinted eyes.

Sellers are hoping for record prices around A$2-3 a kg ($1-$1.50 for 2.2 pounds) live weight. Buyers are seeking good beef, for the export market is booming.

Australia is the world's leading beef exporter, with a A$3 billion (US$1.5 billion) a year export trade, primarily to Asia and the United States.


The auctioneer climbs the rails and stands above a pen. The bell rings and he starts his banter, which seems to be in a foreign tongue understood only by the cattlemen standing below.

Suddenly a price is mentioned and it quickly climbs. The sale is over within a minute. As each cow is sold a dab of blue paint is splashed on its back and the auctioneer walks to the next pen.

The routine is the same, pen after pen after pen, for two and a half hours and record prices are easily reached under the blazing Australian sun.

Top price for the day was for a pen of six Simmetal cross cows which sold for A$2.06 a kg ($1.01 for 2.2 pounds) live. That is A$700 (US$345) a head or A$3,600 (US$1,775) for the pen.

``I have never seen them as dear and I have been in the game for 35 years,'' says a sweating auctioneer Max Bailey, himself a bullock of a man.

``In the seventies, during the cattle crash, you'd be lucky to get 12 to 16 cents a kilo, that's about A$70 for a 600-kg cow, now you can easily be paid more than A$1,000,'' says Bailey as he weighs the cattle.

Fellow auctioneer Neil Stocks says that while the falling Australian dollar was the driving force behind soaring cattle prices, market confidence was also high due to a strong export market and the foot-and-mouth epidemic in Britain and Europe.

Stocks says foot-and-mouth was not having a direct impact on prices, but in 12 months that might change as new export quotas are negotiated, Britain and Europe count their breeding stock losses and other markets look elsewhere for clean meat.

``The industry here only has a small number of cattle and it is going to get difficult for processors to supply enough meat, that is going to push prices up,'' says Stocks.

Offshore demand is already on the rise for Australian beef and live cattle in the Middle East and North Africa, which have turned away from British, Irish and European products because of the spread of Mad Cow disease late last year.

But Australian cattlemen warn that disease is always bad news. ``If people turn off eating meat then it doesn't help anyone,'' says Stocks.


The constant bellowing of cows as they await their fate with the abattoir at times almost deafens.

Trevor Jurd has checked out a pen of eight Hereford cows, all in calf. He knows if he can get them for a good price he can double his money in 12 months.

Bidding quickly rises into the A$500 range, but you'd never know who was bidding as the nods and gestures are as laid-back as the shy cattlemen.

Sold at A$600 yells the auctioneer. Jurd smiles contently.

``If the market holds in 12 months I can sell the cows fat for over A$1,000 and keep the calves. You can't get that kind of return from the stock market,'' says Jurd, who runs the 3,000-acre Bellhurst cattle property in Singleton.

Asked how he feels about his fellow farmers in Britain forced to burn their stock, Jurd's face quickly loses its shine.

``I feel a lot for them. They only have 20 to 30 head in a herd. They shelter them in winter and they almost become family, they get to know them like their kids. It must be a massive blow when they have to eradicate them.''

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Teen chic causes drop in number of blood donors

Katherine Hoby

New Zealand Herald--Wednesday 11 April 2001

Teenage trends for body piercings are preventing one of the most generous group of blood donors from giving.

The Blood Service has to decline donations from those who have had a body piercing or tattoo within the past year, because of the potential for serious infection.

National donor manager Tony Smith said donations from 10 per cent of the total Auckland donor base had to be deferred for 12 months.

Secondary and tertiary students represented about a fifth of total donors, but up to half of those who came forward had to be stood down.

Mr Smith said that although it was not a crisis for the service, recent piercings or tattoos did prevent otherwise eligible donors from giving blood.

"We do have to say that, just on the off chance the needle wasn't sterilised properly, or if the tattoo ink was re-used, we can't take you," Mr Smith said. "However, we welcome you back in 12 months."

He said infections such as hepatitis and HIV could take up to a year to show up in the blood, and that was the concern.

Tests were being developed that might mean donors with piercings or tattoos had to stand down for just six months.

A ban on anyone who had lived in Britain for six months or more between 1980 and 1996 had also meant the service had to think of innovative ways to attract donors.

The ban was due to the risk of passing on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from having eaten British beef.

Concerns were raised in November 1999, and a ban followed in February 2000.

Mr Smith said the Blood Service took a " 10 per cent hit" (about 12,000 donors) because of the CJD scare. The United States donor base lost 2 per cent of donors and the Australians 5 per cent.

The worldwide profile of a blood donor is of someone well educated, of the upper social groups, and well travelled. Mr Smith said the Kiwi urge to go on the big overseas experience, especially to Europe, meant the service was hit hard.

"We do get stressed," he said.

"My problem is getting donors in the door. It is a constant challenge to make sure there are enough."

A "red felt-tip" advertising campaign seemed to capture the public's imagination, and donor levels were soon back almost to normal.

Mr Smith said one of the toughest things about keeping numbers up was getting first-time donors to return.

Australian and United States research suggests 40 to 60 per cent of first-timers do not return.

"There are 120,000 donors around the country but a lot of them are inactive."

In the middle of last year the service formed a partnership with Message Media to formulate an e-mail campaign to get donors back.

The option had two main advantages - it was immediate and cheap. It allowed donors to make appointments by e-mail.

The campaign was tested over Waitangi weekend and was an immediate success.

While it was a constant challenge to enlist donors, and to keep them coming back, Mr Smith said he enjoyed his job.

"Our ethos is to supply blood product wherever and whenever it's needed. And I am pleased to think I am helping save lives."

* To contact the Blood Service ring 0800-448-325 or see the blood graphic on A10 for regional numbers.


*AB is the rarest blood type, O+ is the most common. About 41 per cent of the population is O+. The other blood groups are: O- (7 per cent), A+ (34 per cent), A- (5 per cent), B+ (8 per cent), B- (2 per cent), AB+ (2 per cent), and AB- (1 per cent)

*Four per cent of people will give blood. Eighty per cent will need it some time in their life

*There are three blood components donors can give: whole blood, platelets and plasma

*Blood is used for accident victims, for those in surgery, for those with leukaemia, for burns victims, for premature babies and for many others

*Donated blood lasts 35 days, platelets just 5

*A donated unit of blood is equivalent to about a pint

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Food Animal News

Staff Reporter

DVM Magazine--Wednesday 11 April 2001

OSU team prepared for animal emergencies

Stillwater, Okla.-While America braces itself hoping to avoid an outbreak of anthrax, Mad Cow or foot-and-mouth disease, Oklahoma State University (OSU) has been available with a solution for more than three years.

The OSU investigative team - headed by Dr. W.C. Edwards, director of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and Dr. John Kirkpatrick, director of the veterinary teaching hospital - has been available 24 hours daily to travel to any farm in Oklahoma to diagnose any agricultural disease from mild to catastrophic diseases.

"If I had a call that someone was having a dramatic death loss in cows or whatever, I would take some history, find out what the clinical signs are and what's been done," says Edwards. "Then I would get the team together quickly - probably within a day."

That team would then travel to the farm, examine the animals and take samples of water and feed. In addition, state veterinarians would be dispatched to vaccinate the animals in nearby farms and quarantine them until the disease was under control.

Then the team would convene at the headquarters and form a diagnosis and recommendation to correct problems.

The team's foremost commitment is to the state, but Edwards says that if a foreign animal disease is a threat or could spread to Oklahoma's livestock, they would intervene.

The team offers much more than what an individual specialist might be able to do, says Kirkpatrick.

Edwards agrees.

"We're not only crossing departmental lines, but actual college lines in that we would probably involve a nutritionist, an animal science and an extension specialist," he says. "There's a core team and we can add additional people as we need."


BSE status of Vermont sheep not determined

East Warren, Vt.-In late March federal inspectors in Vermont seized and killed two flocks of sheep imported from Belgium that were suspected of exposure to contaminated feed, but a USDA official reports that test results will not be available for another three months.

The sheep are suspected to be carriers of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease. The suspicions led to an initial seizure in early March by agents from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) working with police. After the first flock was seized in March, the sheep owners asked officials to test the herd before seizing the second flock. Their request was denied.

USDA agents transported the animals to a USDA veterinary laboratory in Iowa to be killed and their brain tissues tested for any form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), a family of diseases that includes Mad Cow disease and scrapie, a disease that only affects sheep. Prior to the first transport to Iowa, four sheep had tested positive in Vermont for TSE. Scientists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa report that they were running a series of blood and tissue tests on the carcasses.

For ongoing updates on BSE and other diseases, visit the following Web site:


FDA official seeks broad ban on animal feed

Washington, D.C.-In yet another move in the attempt to halt Mad Cow disease, a high-ranking government regulator has told Congress he would like to extend the ban on using certain animal byproducts in cattle feed to other animal feeds also.

To ensure that meat and bone meal suspected of helping spread Mad Cow disease kept away from U.S. cattle, one additional action would be to ban its use in the processed meal given to pigs and chickens, according to Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Bernard Schwetz.

Rex Runyon, spokesman for the American Feed Industry Association, says the proposed action "simply is unnecessary," as no cases of Mad Cow disease have been found in the United States.

Dr. Stephen Sundlof, head of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, an FDA agency that regulates the animal feed industry, agrees that such a measure is extreme, saying that it is merely one of a number of options being evaluated.


USDA scientists iron out FMD vaccine

London-Although too late to prevent thousands of animals from slaughter in Britain, USDA scientists are developing a vaccine against the contagious foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

News of the vaccine was first reported in New Scientist magazine.

Vaccines against the infection are already available but animals can still harbor the virus for up to two years and infect other animals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's research facility in Plum Island, N.Y., is developing a new vaccine that is effective in one week. The vaccine contains genes for just a few foot-and-mouth viral proteins, which produce an immune response in the animals.

The new vaccine could be used to treat animals should an outbreak occur, and the animals could be tested to see if they were exposed to a wild virus. If not, the region or country could be declared disease-free.

Thus far, the disease has spread to four new sites in England and Wales, as well as other European countries, according to Great Britain's Chief Veterinary Officer Jim Scudamore.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Cow diseases may affect leather prices

Mary Deibel, Scripps Howard News Service

Cincinatti Now--Wednesday 11 April 2001

The boys of summer are safe this year, but that could change by the 2002 baseball season if leather prices continue upward in response to Europe's cattle woes.

"We've seen prices rise due to the foot-and-mouth scare," Rawlings Sporting Goods chief Steve O'Hara says. If hide prices keep going up, he says, Rawlings may raise the price of balls and gloves it started making in 1888.

Rawlings isn't alone: Whether it's bomber jacket or boot makers, couch or car interior companies, manufacturers say Europe's problems with foot-and-mouth and Mad Cow disease have pinched leather supplies. That came on top of a 79 percent increase in demand for leather clothing last year spurred by fashionistas.

Heavy Texas steers, a kind of raw hide, sold for 63 cents a pound last year and go for 85 cents today, with a 20 percent spike in recent weeks. The upshot:

- New Hampshire boot and apparel manufacturer Timberland warned investors "there could be an adverse impact on the company's financial performance" should hide prices continue to rise next year.

- At Hartmann Luggage in Lebanon, Tenn., purchasing manager Jimmy Kemp says, "It's a never-ending juggling act" to decide whether to lock in hide prices and supplies today or wait for the market to settle back.

- Marketing vice president Joe Cooley says it's much the same at Garden State Tanning in King of Prussia, Pa., which makes leather interiors to ship to Japan for Toyota's top-of-the-line Lexus luxury sedans.

"We're not dealing with shortages; we're dealing with a perception of shortage that says the price will go up even though Europe's 79 million cattle are a tiny portion of a world cattle population of 1 billion plus," says Charlie Myers, president of Leather Industries of America, a Washington trade association.

"Those sad English farmers who treat their cows as pets show up on the news after they killed Bossie and put her on the funeral pyre, and it's easy to forget only 90,000 cattle have died so far to contain foot-and-mouth there," Myers says.

Foot-and-mouth is a nonfatal but disfiguring infection that spreads rapidly among cattle, sheep and other cloven-hoofed animals if not eradicated by killing the animals and burning their carcasses.

Mad Cow, by contrast, is a fatal brain disease that is believed to be transmissible to beef-eating humans. That's why Mad Cow worries have helped halve Europe's appetite for beef, so that instead of providing 17 percent of the world's yearly harvest of hides, Europe may provide less than 10 percent.

The upshot: Leather buyers are bidding up hide prices from other sources including the United States, Latin America and Asia.

However, marketing experts question the extent to which the price of raw hides will result in sticker shock when there's more than a little wiggle room on price for the 1.2 billion pairs of shoes the U.S. imports annually from China, where the wholesale price averages $7 a pair.

Nor will a slight price rise for a $3,000 leather sofa or $600 leather coat deter today's "core leather customer" when it comes to upscale goods, says consumer shopping analyst Britt Beemer of America's Research Group. "If the sofa costs $3,100 instead of $3,000, a determined buyer isn't going to be deterred," he says.

Gucci chief executive Domenicio de Sole, for one, confidently predicted the Italian leather-and-luxury clothing house won't see scaled-back growth in 2001 despite a slowing world economy and rising leather costs.

As for baseball gloves, half Rawlings' market is vinyl and synthetic gloves beloved by Little Leaguers. The price is affected by what OPEC charges for oil, not what cattle hides cost.

The other half are gloves crafted of steer hide that Major League players use. These gloves - made at Rawlings' Ada, Ark., plant - go for as much as $250.

Rawlings has finished its 2001 production run and has hides to last through part of 2002, but it's keeping an eye on world prices because today's price spike could signal long-term supply problems or simply be "a momentary blip," O'Hara says.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - Mad Cows gore leather fans

Staff Reporter

Business Day---Wednesday 11 April 2001

NEW YORK Europe's cattle woes are increasing the price Americans will have to pay soon for leather bomber jackets, sneakers and high-end handbags.

Mad-cow and foot-and-mouth diseases, two unrelated plagues that have hit European cattle, have dented the international supply of cow hides used to make leather goods.

Europe is a major supplier of hides, contributing nearly 17% of the global supply of hides and skins in 1998, but suddenly the European beef industry is killing only half as many cows. In part this is because mad-cow a fatal disease formally called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, believed to have been transferred to beef-eating humans has reduced demand for steak and burgers in Europe, and leather is a by-product of beef.

The falloff in hide production is also attributable to the current widespread torching of European cows hides and all to try to contain foot-and-mouth disease. In six weeks, foot-and-mouth has spread from Britain to France, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Leather supplies are tightening at the same time that demand is skyrocketing in America. US sales of leather clothing last year jumped 71% from 199 says the Leather Apparel Association.

Internationally, consumption of leather was expected to rise slightly last year. The clamour for leather comes from beyond the makers of clothing and shoes.

Car makers say more customers are demanding leather interiors, even in the lowest-end models. In the furniture industry, more than one in five pieces made today is crafted in leather, compared with less than 5% in the mid-1980s.

Already, the European effect is causing buyers to bid up the price of hides from other sources. Since January 1, rawhide prices have jumped 10%-15%, and since this time last year, more than 40% for some types of hide. Dow Jones.

11 Apr 01 - CJD - German-imported cattle euthanized, tested for BSE

Staff Reporter

Agriculture News--Wednesday 11 April 2001

Sixteen cattle imported from Germany in 1996, before diagnosis of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in that country, were transported to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University and will be euthanized for BSE testing, according to Diane Osward, Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. Brain tissue samples from the animals were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for BSE testing.

"These actions are precautionary measures monitored by United State Department of Agriculture veterinarians as part of the National BSE Surveillance Program," Oswald said. "None of these animals has shown any sign of BSE, commonly known as 'Mad Cow' disease."

"The quarantine and testing of imported cattle has been in place for a number of years as a precautionary measure against BSE," said H. Richard Adams, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.

The carcasses of the animals will be incinerated and none of the meat will enter the food chain. BSE is not a highly contagious disease, and can only be transmitted by ingestion.

The USDA has banned the importation of cattle from countries where BSE has occurred since 1989, and from countries that have feeding practices that put animals at risk for exposure to the disease. 04/09/2001 09:00

08 Apr 01 - CJD - Senate hears testimony on Mad Cow disease

From Peter Hartogs and Miriam Falco, CNN Medical Unit

CNN--Sunday 8 April 2001

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- There is very little chance that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy -- BSE, or Mad Cow disease -- will enter the United States, a panel of scientists and industry experts told senators Wednesday. But consumer advocates said even more needs to be done to ensure it is kept out.

Members of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer affairs, foreign commerce and tourism, asking if current government standards are sufficient to keep the diseases out of the United States, heard testimony from representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, beef industry and consumer groups.

"The likelihood of BSE in the United States is very low," said veterinarian William Hueston of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. "We realize there are potential exposures to BSE in the United States, but they are very, very few and very low."

But not everyone is convinced.

"The U.S. has had fire walls in place to protect the cattle population from getting infected with Mad Cow disease and there are some gaps in these fire walls," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of the food safety program for the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

One of the gaps, she said, is that the FDA, despite its strong rules, "doesn't have the manpower to actually enforce these rules." She also said tighter regulations are needed for meat processing plants.

Hueston agreed that more needs to be done.

"We need to dramatically increase the amount of research dollars that are going into assuring healthy animals. Healthy animals is the basis of safe food," he said.

Although it is believed nvCJD is spread in humans after they consume BSE-contaminated cattle products, scientists were quick to dispel concerns such as those that have arisen in Europe about eating meat.

"The danger of driving to the airport is probably greater than the danger of eating meat in Europe," said Dr. Richard Johnson of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes at the National Institutes of Health.

Concern about Mad Cow disease in the United States entered the spotlight after the USDA's seizure of a flock of sheep in Vermont last month. Some of those sheep had tested positive for scrapie, one of several degenerative neurological diseases similar to BSE.

The outbreak of Mad Cow disease that surfaced in Britain in 1986 is believed to have originated from cattle feed made from infected animal carcasses. In 1996, the first cases of nvCJD were reported in Britain. The incubation period, during which there are no visible signs of the disease, ranges from three to eight years in cattle and five to 20 years in humans.

There is no test for BSE or nvCJD and there is known treatment or cure. The only conclusive diagnosis is made by examining the brain after death.

Since 1989, the USDA has banned importation into the United States of live cows, sheep and goats from Britain, a prohibition that was expanded in 1997 to include all of Europe. Last December, the USDA banned all imports of rendered animal products from Europe, regardless of species. The USDA also inspects all cattle before they go to slaughter and impounds those that show possible symptoms of BSE.

Based on these restrictions, "it would be highly unlikely for BSE or Mad Cow to occur in the U.S.," said Dr. Linda Detwiler, senior veterinarian for the USDA.

The FDA, which regulates food safety for humans and animals, also has banned the use of any animal protein in feed for cows, sheep and goats since 1997. And it requires feed manufacturers to ensure that animal protein does not find it's way into feed for ruminants.

But a General Accounting Office report issued last year found that 20 percent of feed processing plants weren't aware of the FDA regulations.

In January, more than 1,200 cows were quarantined in Texas because they ate feed containing animal parts, which was caused by an error at the feed plant.

08 Apr 01 - CJD - Study: Mad Cow Risk Low

By Philip Brasner, AP 8 April 2001

WASHINGTON -- Travelers worried about eating beef in Europe can relax, health experts say.

There is little chance of getting Mad Cow disease in Europe, given the precautions now in place and the relatively few illnesses reported, a Senate committee was told Wednesday.

``The danger of driving to the airport is greater than eating meat in Europe,'' said Richard Johnson, a special adviser to the National Institutes of Health on Mad Cow and related diseases.

Europe's scares over Mad Cow and foot-and-mouth disease prompted Northwest Airlines to waive cancellation fees for passengers who wanted to postpone trips. Ireland's main airline, Aer Lingus, has cut fares to stimulate traffic. United and Northwest no longer serve beef on some flights.

U.S. airline traffic to Europe was about 5 percent higher last month than in March 2000, according to the Air Transport Association.

Foot-and-mouth is harmless to humans. But Mad Cow, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is linked to a human braIndependentwasting disease, variant Creutzfeld Jakob Disease, that has killed an estimated 97 people in Britain since 1995 and a few more in continental Europe.

That disease is believed to have an incubation period of 10 years to 20 years, so it could have been contracted before Britain put into place controls on animal feed and meat processing.

Cases of Mad Cow have been reported in France, Portugal, Germany, Spain and Ireland in addition to Britain. A report by the European Union also says most Eastern and Central European countries are at risk because of the ``significant amounts'' of cattle and beef meal they imported from EU countries.

``It's much safer now to eat beef in Britain, although I've eaten beef in Britain throughout this thing,'' Johnson told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Mad Cow disease is believed to be caused by a mutated protein that is transmitted through eating pieces of the brain or nervous system of an infected animal. Britain banned cattle brains and spinal cords from food in 1989. Foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a virus and spreads far more easily. The epidemic of foot-and-mouth in Britain has led to the destruction or condemnation of more than a million animals.

Ground meat is the beef product most likely to carry Mad Cow because it is a mix of meat from many parts of the animal, said Alfonso Torres, the Agriculture Department's chief veterinarian. Beef roasts, steaks and other cuts of muscle are the least risky products, he said. There has never been a confirmed case of Mad Cow in the United States, although there are similar diseases in sheep and deer that are not transmitted to humans, experts say.

Harvard University is finishing a comprehensive study of U.S. risks; it is due to be delivered to the federal government this spring.

The Agriculture Department halted the import of British cattle in 1989 and in 1997 extended the ban to several other European countries. Also in 1997, the Food and Drug Administration banned the feeding of mammalian proteins, such as meat and bone meal, to cud-chewing animals such as cattle and sheep.

``The likelihood of BSE is very low. It is not zero,'' said William Hueston, a University of Maryland scientist who was the co-chairman of a study of U.S. mad-cow risks by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, a group of scientific societies.

With the import bans in place, U.S. government and industry efforts have focused on preventing the spread of Mad Cow if it ever shows up in U.S. cattle.

The FDA says it has cracked down on feed mills and rendering plants that failed to comply with regulations intended to prevent animal proteins from being fed to cattle.

McDonald's Corp. and other fast-food companies have forced meatpackers and cattle suppliers to certify that cattle are being fed in accordance with the FDA's rules.

Also Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman updated President Bush on efforts to keep foot-and-mouth out of the United States. ``The United States has been free of foot-and-mouth since 1929, and our goal is to keep it that way,'' Veneman said.

08 Apr 01 - CJD - AMIF president says proactive measures have prevented BSE in U.S

Staff Reporter

Food Online--Sunday 8 April 2001

4/5/2001 AMIF President James Hodges told a senate subcommittee today that the U.S. is well positioned to continue prevention of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in U.S. cattle herds. Hodges urged policymakers to recognize this fact in setting policy and reject the hysteria that has swept Europe.

Hodges made his statement in testimony today before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce and Tourism. He underscored the fact that the U.S. is in the advantageous position of preventing a disease that has not occurred here, while Europe must seek to control a disease that has already swept its cattle population.

Hodges outlined for the subcommittee the U.S. triple firewall BSE prevention strategy of import bans, surveillance and feed bans.

08 Apr 01 - CJD - Europe's Mad Cow scare offers a boost to Texas emu market

By Betsy Blaney, Associated Press

Houston Chronicle--Sunday 8 April 2001

DALLAS -- Six months ago, emu rancher Joyce Mallicone of Goliad received a telephone call from a meat broker in Europe in the hunt for a beef alternative.

The broker wanted 300 birds, an order too big for Mallicone to fill so she referred him elsewhere.

"It's a terrible thing over there, said the 68-year-old Mallicone, secretary for the Texas Emu Association.

Thanks to the Mad Cow scare that devastated Europe's beef industry this winter, there is suddenly a new market for alternate meat sources like emu. Additionally, U.S. beef is banned in Europe because of the hormones used by American producers.

In March, the Dallas-based American Emu Association informed members that it had received requests for emu meat from officials in Austria and food distributors in Spain.

"AEA members are preparing to assist the Europeans by shipping emu meat that is USDA-inspected and then processed, packaged and frozen," Neil Williams, president of the association said in a news release.

"Emu meat can be prepared in any dish that calls for ground beef or traditional steak, fillet or medallion cuts and is easily adapted to the European or any other menu," he said.

The AEA annually sponsors National Emu Awareness Week, which began Saturday and runs through April 15.

Edwin Cannon, vice president of Texas Emu Association, said a group of emu ranchers in Harris, Waller and Montgomery counties is exploring getting involved with a program supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would shepherd emu meat to European countries.

"I think that we could benefit from the outbreak, unfortunately at others' expense," Cannon said. "I do see that there will be an increase in demand for it from Europe."

In previous years, inspections of emu meat in Texas were done voluntarily by ranchers at processing plants around the state.

Beginning April 26, the inspections become mandatory under the auspices of the Texas Farm Bureau, said Laurie Koehl, president of the Texas Emu Association.

Foot-and-mouth disease became rampant through the British countryside earlier this year and has spread to France despite efforts to prevent it from entering that country. The disease is not a threat to humans and emus are not susceptible. It affects pigs, cattle, goats, sheep and deer.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, can be transmitted to humans. It was first discovered in Britain in the 1980s, but cases recently have been reported in France, Germany and other parts of continental Europe.

Between October and December last year, beef slaughter in the 15 European Union countries dropped by nearly a third.

By mid-March, several hundred thousand head of cattle, sheep and pigs had been slaughtered in Britain due to contamination. Britain's National Farmers' Union forecast up to 1 million animals could be destroyed as the outbreak spreads.

08 Apr 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cow' blood risk for humans, study shows


Environmental News Network--Sunday 8 April 2001

Monkeys can contract Mad Cow disease if it is injected into their bloodstream, underscoring that infected tissue risks transmitting the braIndependentwasting illness to humans, researchers said Friday.

French scientist Corinne Ida Lasmezas said that she and a team of French and British scientists proved that the agent that causes Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, can be passed from one primate to another intravenously.

"Everything depends on the amount of the infectious agent in blood - we don't know if there is enough in human blood to infect another human," she said.

The team's research, published last week in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dealt with the behavior of prions - the distorted proteins blamed for causing BSE and its human equivalent, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - in primates.

"We wanted to better understand the behavior of the BSE agent in primates to have an idea of the risk that vCJD poses in humans," Lasmezas told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"Effectively, this is the first time BSE has been passed between primates via blood," she said.

She said the study had also shown that the BSE prions become more virulent to primates after they have replicated in primates. They would lie dormant for less time when passed from one primate to another than when they cross from cattle to primates.

In the study, Lasmezas and her team first infected macaque monkeys by taking concentrated samples of the Mad Cow agent from brains of infected humans and cattle and injecting them directly into the monkeys' brains.

They then took samples from the infected monkeys' brains and injected them into the brains of healthy monkeys. They also took samples from the brains of sick monkeys and injected them into the veins of other, healthy monkeys.

The researchers found that all monkeys that were injected with the agent - either into the bloodstream or into the brain directly - became sick with the fatal disease.

More importantly, however, the scientists found that the BSE agent lies dormant for a shorter period of time once it adapts to primates. "This means that once the agent has adapted to primates, it's more virulent for another primate," she said.

Prions have puzzled scientists since they were discovered. Normally present in the brain and other tissue of mammals, they can take on an abnormally folded form that causes the brain to become spongy and eventually wither.

It is generally thought that prions can propagate, clump up and cause disease without the use of any kind of genetic material at all, unlike viruses, bacteria and parasites.

They are blamed for a range of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that include BSE in cattle and vCJD in humans.

At least 85 people in Britain and two in France have died from vCJD.

Because neither the incubation period for vCJD in humans nor the dose required to infect humans is known, scientists do not know how many more people may be infected by the agent.