Document Directory

18 Jun 01 - CJD - Tokyo Pressures Brussels to Suppress Report
18 Jun 01 - CJD - France seeks Mad Cow tests on non-EU beef
18 Jun 01 - CJD - France faces EU court over UK beef ban
17 Jun 01 - CJD - Scots mother victim of 'Mad Cow' disease
17 Jun 01 - CJD - Fears for baby as new mother dies from CJD
17 Jun 01 - CJD - CJD Kills New Mum
17 Jun 01 - CJD - CJD mother dies at 28
17 Jun 01 - CJD - Scientists baffled by mystery of new BSE case
16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE cow found born after new restrictions
16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE Found In Cow
16 Jun 01 - CJD - New BSE case rings alarm bells
16 Jun 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Confirmed in Hong Kong
16 Jun 01 - CJD - Fears as controls fail to prevent new BSE case
16 Jun 01 - CJD - Switzerland: Scientists Develop Test To Diagnose Mad Cow Disease
16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE found in post-disease calf
16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE found in cow born after controls in force
16 Jun 01 - CJD - New Mad Cow Fear
14 Jun 01 - CJD - Possible CJD Case Reported in Hungary
14 Jun 01 - CJD - Commission reinforces research effort on BSE and related diseases
14 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE: Commission toughens measures
14 Jun 01 - CJD - Czechs say German test confirms BSE case
14 Jun 01 - CJD - Mad Cow disease hits Czech Republic
14 Jun 01 - CJD - Breakthrough in the search for BSE blood test
14 Jun 01 - CJD - First Czech Mad Cow case confirmed



18 Jun 01 - CJD - Tokyo Pressures Brussels to Suppress Report

Regis Arnaud, Agence France Presse English

Agence France Presse---Monday 18 June 2001


TOKYO PRESSURES BRUSSELS TO BURY ALARMING REPORT ON MAD COW DISEASE

TOKYO -- European diplomats were cited as saying in this story that Japan's agricultural ministry is pressuring Brussels to block publication of an alarming report by the European Commission on Mad Cow disease in Japan.

A diplomat from the European Commission's Tokyo office, who declined to be named, was quoted as saying, "Tokyo is very worried and keeps on sending delegations to Brussels to ask for a delay in publication of the report."

Another member from the EC's Japanese branch, who also wished to remain anonymous, was quoted as saying, "On May 11, for the third time in a row the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) delayed the publication of its evaluation concerning BSE in Japan."

The story says that the SSC in charge of nutritional safety in the European Union (EU), evaluates the risk-level of Mad Cow disease -- or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) -- in various non-member countries to prevent importations of contaminated meat into the EU.

SSC reports on numerous countries have already been publicised, but an official comment on Japan has yet to materialise.


18 Jun 01 - CJD - France seeks Mad Cow tests on non-EU beef

Reuters

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette---Monday 18 June 2001


PARIS, June 18 (Reuters) - France wants the European Union to test beef from outside the 15-member bloc for Mad Cow disease, just as it does with its own meat, a farm ministry spokeswoman said on Monday.

She said French Farm Minister Jean Glavany would ask his EU counterparts on Tuesday at a meeting in Luxembourg to approve a measure ordering that beef imported from non-EU countries be tested for the deadly disease.

Other ministry officials were not immediately available to give further details.

The EU has ordered that beef from domestic cattle more than 30 months old cannot enter the food chain unless it has tested negative for Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Existing tests require laboratory analysis of brain tissue after an animal has been slaughtered.

More than 100 people in Britain, France, Ireland and Hong Kong have died or are believed to be dying from the human form of Mad Cow disease, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which is believed to be caused by eating contaminated meat products.


18 Jun 01 - CJD - France faces EU court over UK beef ban

Ananova

PA News--Monday 18 June 2001


France is in the dock at the European Court of Justice on Tuesday, accused of breaking EU law by refusing to import British beef.

The long-awaited case follows French determination to maintain a ban on UK beef despite an "all-clear" sounded by Brussels at the end of the crisis over BSE.

The unilateral French blockade raised a political storm over the ability of a founding EU member state to flout a binding EU law.

Britain may often carp at the EU, but it honours agreements once they have been made - unlike the French, say UK government officials.

France insisted, and still insists, that its own health and safety findings take precedence over those of EU scientific experts.

The fact that the chairman of the EU expert committee which cleared BSE was a Frenchman added to the fury in London and at Commission headquarters in Brussels.

Now, 18 months after the Commission launched legal action in the Luxembourg court, the case is being heard - just one hour of legal argument before the judges adjourn to consider a verdict which will not be delivered for months.

Piles of legal paperwork have already been scrutinised, and the public hearing is for lawyers on both sides to put their final submissions on the basis of EU law.

The Commission issued a world-wide ban on British beef exports in March 1996, as fears grew about the possible spread of BSE. And it was not until the summer of 1999 that the Commission accepted new British health and safety checks on exports and lifted the ban.

Exports of beef from Britain officially resumed on August 1 1999 - but France countered the move by point out that its own Food Safety Agency was not so convinced that UK meat was safe.


17 Jun 01 - CJD - Scots mother victim of 'Mad Cow' disease

Rachel Devine

Sunday Times--Sunday 17 June 2001


A young Scots mother has died from the human form of "Mad Cow" disease after falling ill in the final stages of her pregnancy, writes.

Julia Blair , 27, who gave birth to her first baby Jonathan in February, was unaware she had contracted new variant CJD until shortly before he was born.

Doctors diagnosed the disease when she failed to recover from a period of ill-health that was thought to be linked to her pregnancy. Her four-month-old baby is not thought to be carrying the infection but, according to experts, it could be some time before he is given the all-clear.

Mrs Blair, a languages teacher from Houston near Paisley, was discharged from Glasgow's Southern General hospital four months ago and moved into a cottage next door to her in-laws home in Houston, Renfrewshire.

She died there on Friday, surrounded by members of her family, including her parents and husband Nick.

Nearly 100 people have died from new variant CJD - most of whom have been in their twenties.

Another young victim of the disease is being cared for by her family at home in Aberdeen. Donna McIntyre's condition has deteriorated rapidly since she was diagnosed with the illness last year.

A relative at the family home last night said Mr Blair was too upset to talk about his loss.


17 Jun 01 - CJD - Fears for baby as new mother dies from CJD

Reuters

YAHOO--Sunday 17 June 2001


LONDON (Reuters) - A Scottish woman, who gave birth to her first child four-and-a-half-months ago, has died from the human form of Mad Cow disease, according to newspaper reports.

Julia Blair, 28, from Glasgow, did not realise she was suffering from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) until towards the end of her pregnancy, Scotland on Sunday said.

Her son Jonathan is so far said to be healthy but experts said it could be some time before it is known whether he too has contracted the disease, the paper said.

Over 100 people in Britain, Ireland and France have died or are believed to be dying from vCJD.


17 Jun 01 - CJD - CJD Kills New Mum

Staff Reporter

Sunday Mail---Sunday 17 June 2001


This is the tragic young teacher who died from Mad Cow disease just four months after giving birth to her first child.

Julia Blair, 28, thought her ill health was linked to the pregnancy.

But in the weeks before her baby, Jonathan, was born, the devoted wife was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease - the human form of Mad Cow disease.

With her husband Nick, 30, at her bedside, deeply religious Julia passed away on Friday after being allowed to return to die at a cottage near her relatives' home.

Although CJD can be hereditary, Jonathan, who was born in February, has not contracted the untreatable illness.

Yesterday, grieving Nick, 30, also a teacher, said: "The whole family is deeply saddened by Julia's death."

The young mum-to-be's symptoms initially confounded doctors, after she fell ill while she was pregnant.

Julia was even tested for psychological problems before doctors realised she was the latest victim of the killer disease.

The month after giving birth to Jonathan, at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, Julia's condition deteriorated rapidly. Julia, originally from the tiny fishing village of Sandend, on the Moray coast, remained at the hospital for treatment at the neurological unit.

And when doctors said there was no more they could do, she was moved to a cottage near Nick's parents' home in Houston, Renfrewshire, to spend her final days.

Languages teacher Julia, who taught at Stonelaw Academy, Rutherglen, had been married to Nick, a technical studies teacher at St Ninian's High School in Giffnock, Glasgow, for three years.

He said last night: "I would like to thank all family, friends, carers, our church, and school staff and pupils for their support during this very difficult time."

When she died on Friday, her deeply religious parents, former fisherman Magnus Smith and his wife Marion, were also with her.

Yesterday, Mr Smith said: "We are mourning the loss of a beautiful daughter.

"We are a quiet, godly family and we have borne our daughter's illness as a family matter for many months.

"My daughter is now at home with her Lord."

Julia had two brothers Graeme, 30, and Phil, 25.

CJD, the illness that killed Julia, has been linked to around 70 deaths in the UK.

The rare degenerative disease, which "eats away" at the human brain, is similar to BSE in cows, and experts believe many CJD victims caught the illness through beef infected with Mad Cow disease.

Julia and Nick had set up home on the south side of Glasgow and were both keen members of the Greenview Evangelical Church.

Raised in the Brethren faith, Julia had retained a strong religious belief.

A family friend said: "Julia was a born-again Christian and her faith remained one of the most important things in her life and sustained her during her illness.

"If Julia was here today, her desire would be that her illness would be for the glory of God."

Nick's headteacher at St Ninian's High School, James McVittie, said last night: "Nick and Julia have been in the prayers of the school since their ordeal began.

"Our thoughts are with them, and the school will be represented at the funeral."

A memorial service is to be held in the young mum's adopted city of Glasgow on Tuesday, while she will be buried in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, the next day.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Julia's school, Stonelaw Academy, said: "Everyone is shocked. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends."

1 - Another young CJD victim is being nursed at home by her family. Donna McIntyre, 21, from Aberdeen, has become increasingly frail since she was diagnosed with the illness last year.


17 Jun 01 - CJD - CJD mother dies at 28

Staff Reporter

BBC--Sunday 17 June 2001


A young mother has died from the human form of Mad Cow disease just months after giving birth to her first child.

Languages teacher Julia Blair, 28, did not realise she had Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) until the end of her pregnancy.

Doctors have carried out tests on her baby Jonathan to establish whether he has symptoms of CJD, but it is believed the youngster is free of the disease.

After the birth of her son four-and-a-half months ago, Mrs Blair's condition deteriorated and she was discharged from hospital and moved to a cottage next to her husband's parents' home near Houston in Renfrewshire.

Languages teacher

Her husband Nick, who teaches technical subjects at St Ninian's High School in Giffnock near Glasgow, believes his son is not at risk from the disease.

Mrs Blair died on Friday with members of her family at her bedside, Sunday newspapers reported.

She worked as a languages teacher at Stonelaw High School in Rutherglen, near Glasgow, after graduating from Stirling University.

Mrs Blair married her husband three years ago and they lived in Glasgow.

More than 100 people in the UK have died from CJD.


17 Jun 01 - CJD - Scientists baffled by mystery of new BSE case

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

Independent--Sunday 17 June 2001


Mad Cow disease may be spreading through the country by previously unknown means, the Government's chief adviser on the human form of the disease said yesterday.

Professor Peter Smith, acting chairman of the Government's BSE advisory committee, Seac, was commenting on the discovery of a new case in a cow born after the introduction of tough controls to eradicate the disease. The cow's mother, or dam, was not infected.

The case raises fears voiced by scientific critics of the Government's approach to BSE that the disease may be spreading from cow to cow as well as from mother to calf.

This would raise the possibility that many of Britain's pastures are infected with the deadly prions that cause BSE .

An investigation to establish the origin of the infection will be carried out by the State Veterinary Service.

The cow, understood to be part of a Friesian dairy herd in Somerset, was born on 27 May 1997. This was nearly 10 months after 1 August 1996, the date by which extra control measures on animal feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal had been fully implemented.

It is only the second time BSE has been confirmed in a cow born after that date, although experts had predicted that there would be a small number of such cases. They have estimated that there will be a total of 17 reported cases by the end of this year.

The routes of possible transmission include feed carried over from before 1 August 1996 and infection from the cow's mother.

However, Professor Smith said the latest case is a matter of particular concern to Seac because the cow's mother did not have the disease.

"There are two things that have to be considered," he said. "One is whether there is some failing in the feed ban. That would be of some concern, because this is 10 months after we think the feed ban should have been watertight.

"The other possibility is that there is a third way of transmission. We know about feed transmission and we know about transmission from dam to calf.

"It is possible, and we can't exclude the possibility completely, that there is some other low-level form of transmission through which a case like this might arise."

Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley moved to reassure the public that the discovery poses no health threat. "We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advises that there are no implications for food safety," he said.

"It does not change in any way our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and to eradicate the disease."

The cow confirmed as having BSE was aged 48 months when it was slaughtered. It would not have entered the human food chain because of the rule that prevents the sale for human consumption of meat from animals aged over 30 months.

The overall BSE epidemic continues to decline, with 1,311 BSE cases confirmed during 2000, 42 per cent lower than in 1999.

Speaking yesterday Margaret Beckett, the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that the foot and mouth crisis is an opportunity for regeneration of the farming industry.

Mrs Beckett promised a "culture of co-operation and openness" in her new department, which was created by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, last Friday to replace the much-criticised Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.


16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE cow found born after new restrictions

Reuters

YAHOO--Saturday 16 June 2001


LONDON (Reuters) - A cow born after strict measures on feeding meat-based animal feed to cattle were put in place has been diagnosed with Mad Cow disease, according to Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Scientists believe that Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), is caused by cattle eating contaminated meat-based animal feed -- a practice banned in August, 1996.

The department said the cow had been born in May 1997.

"We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advise that there are no implications for food safety," Elliot Morley, animal health minister, said in a statement on Friday.

He said the state veterinary service was investigating the case to find out whether it would cast light on the causes of BSE, including whether the disease had been passed down from the cow's mother.

Some scientists have argued that meat-based feed was not the only culprit in spreading Mad Cow disease, which was first found in the British herd in 1986.

A decade later it was linked to the deadly brain-wasting human disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), that has been diagnosed in over 100 people in Britain.


16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE Found In Cow

By Nick Allen, PA News

PA News---Saturday 16 June 2001


A case of BSE was confirmed today in a cow born after the introduction of controls to eradicate the disease.

The cow was born on May 27, 1997 nearly 10 months after August 1, 1996 when extra control measures on animal feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal were considered to have been fully implemented.

It is only the second time BSE has been confirmed in a cow born after that date, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

The infected animal was understood to be a Fresian dairy cow from Somerset.

Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley said: "We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advise that there are no implications for food safety.

"It does not change in any way our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and to eradicate the disease."

Experts have been predicting for some time that there would be a small number of BSE cases in cows born after August 1, 1996.

It was predicted that the first such case might appear in 1998 or 1999 but it did not in fact appear until last year in a Holstein cow from the Dorset area.

Experts had predicted that there would be a total of 17 such cases by the end of this year but today's was only the second.

An investigation will be carried out by the State Veterinary Service to try to establish the origin of the infection.

Possible routes of transmission include feed carried over from before August, 1 1996 and maternal transmission.

The cow confirmed as having BSE today was aged 48 months when it was slaughtered.

It would not have entered the human food chain because of the rule which prevents the sale for human consumption of meat from animals aged over 30 months.

It would also have been ineligible for the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES) because of its age.

The animal believed to be the cow's mother, which was born in December 1989, is still alive but will also be excluded from the food chain because of her age.

The single surviving offspring of the case has already been traced and will not enter the food chain either, Defra said.

In line with existing safety procedures, animals from the same herd born six months either side of the infected animal will be traced, placed under movement restrictions and barred from the food chain.

In this case, those animals will already be excluded from the food chain because of their age.

The overall BSE epidemic continues to decline, with 1,311 BSE cases confirmed during 2000, 42% lower than in 1999.

A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union said: "It is a situation that naturally gives us concern and it's something that we will need to find out more about and will seek scientific advice on before we can comment in greater detail."


16 Jun 01 - CJD - New BSE case rings alarm bells

Staff Reporter

BBC--Saturday 16 June 2001


A case of BSE has been discovered in a cow born after the introduction of tight control measures aimed at stamping out the disease.

The infected animal, understood to be a Friesian dairy cow from Somerset, was born on 27 May 1997 - nearly 10 months after controls on animal feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal were implemented.

The government was quick to deny the development increased the fears of a spread of BSE.

Animal health minister, Elliot Morley, said: "We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advises there are no implications for food safety.

"It does not change in any way our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and to eradicate the disease."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was only the second time BSE had been confirmed in a cow born after 1 August, 1996, despite the fact experts had predicted there would be a total of 17 cases by the end of this year.

Investigation

The first case was confirmed last year in a Holstein cow from Dorset.

An investigation has now been launched to try and establish how the disease was transmitted to the cow.

Possible routes of transmission include feed carried over from before 1 August 1996 or maternal transmission.

The infected cow, which was 48 months old when it was slaughtered, would not have entered the human food chain because of regulations preventing the sale of meat for human consumption from animals aged more than 30 months.


16 Jun 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Confirmed in Hong Kong

Reuters

YAHOO--Saturday 16 June 2001


HONG KONG (AP) - A Chinese woman is suffering from the human form of Mad Cow disease - the first known case of the lethal brain-wasting ailment in Hong Kong.

Britain's National Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Surveillance Unit confirmed that the unidentified 34-year-old woman has variant CJD, according to Prince of Wales Hospital, where the woman is a patient. The woman reportedly is in stable condition.

Neurologist Richard Kay said last week that the woman probably contracted the disease from eating beef in Britain. Her symptoms included a progressive neurological disorder, involuntary limb movements and dementia, he said.

The patient lived in Britain for extensive periods, but stayed in Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997. She returned to Britain in 1997 and flew to Hong Kong for treatment early this year.

According to the World Health Organization, 105 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has been reported worldwide since the mid-1990s. Most have been in Britain.

People are believed to contract the illness by eating meat from cattle with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease.

Mad Cow disease in Britain resulted in wholesale herd slaughtering, mandatory testing and a European Union ban on British beef exports that has since been lifted. Hong Kong still bars British beef.


16 Jun 01 - CJD - Fears as controls fail to prevent new BSE case

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor

Telegraph--Saturday 16 June 2001


The fight against BSE in Britain received a sharp setback last night with the discovery that a cow born nearly 10 months after extra measures to protect cattle has fallen victim to the disease.

An investigation by government vets was underway to find out how the animal, a four-year-old cow on an un-named farm in the West Country, contracted the disease when it should have been safe.

Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, may be questioned about the breakdown by European farm ministers on Tuesday when she attends an EU farm council meeting in Luxembourg. Fears about BSE have devastated beef sales in Europe and the EU Commission is planning tighter controls throughout the community.

The Food Standards Agency stressed last night that there was no threat to human health since the cow would have been destroyed anyway after its working life under controls to remove all cattle more than 30 months old from the food chain. The EU Commission is considering proposals to reduce this destruction age to cattle 24 months as a further protection for consumers.

The cow was born 10 months after August 1, 1996 - the date when extra measures to remove meat and bone meal from farm food supplies was deemed to have become fully effective. BSE is believed to have been caused by food containing contaminated meat and bone meal and in theory cattle should have been safe after this date.

Cases of BSE have been falling dramatically. By the end of April, there were only 178 reported cases in Britain. Last year, the total number of cases fell to 1,352. In 1994, 23,945 cattle died.

Elliot Morley, minister for animal health, said: "We do not yet know the epidemiological significance... but it does not change in any way our view that we have the toughest rules to protect public health."


16 Jun 01 - CJD - Switzerland: Scientists Develop Test To Diagnose Mad Cow Disease

By Jeremy Bransten

Radio Free Europe---Saturday 16 June 2001


Scientists in Switzerland have announced progress in their efforts to develop a simple blood test to detect the presence of BSE -- commonly known as "Mad Cow disease" -- in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. RFE/RL correspondent Jeremy Bransten spoke with Claudio Soto, the head of the team developing the new procedure at the Serono Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Europe's largest biotechnology company.

Prague, 14 June 2001 (RFE/RL) -- At present, the only way to know for certain if a cow has the brain-wasting disease BSE (for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is to kill it and dissect its brain. Unfortunately, the same holds true for humans and the related Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD.

This means that thousands of cattle are needlessly slaughtered on the mere suspicion of carrying the disease and human victims often live in physical and psychological agony, with no firm diagnosis. While there is currently no cure for the illness -- in either its cattle or human variant -- scientists see early detection, while the subject is still alive, as a first step in developing treatment.

Claudio Soto leads a team at Switzerland's Serono Pharmaceutical Research Institute, the largest biotechnology company in Europe. The team believes they have made a breakthrough in early detection with the development of a new blood test that they have successfully tested -- under laboratory conditions.

Current blood tests are unable to detect BSE or CJD because the level of abnormal prion proteins, the disease-causing agent, is too low. But Soto's scientists have developed a process which induces rapid prion replication in any given blood sample within a few hours, enabling detection. Soto explains:

"Prions are the infective agents in these diseases, and the difference is that they're a protein. They're not really a conventional infectious agent such as viruses or bacteria. So, there was no way to grow them in the lab. Now we have found a way, in which starting with a very, very small amount of the prions, we can grow them to a level that can be detected with any of the existent technologies."

More experiments will have to be conducted before the results can be certified and a commercially available blood test is developed. But Soto says his team's findings are a major breakthrough, especially because they advance scientists' knowledge of the disease's mechanism and thus might point the way to an eventual cure.

"This is not really one more test that has been developed. What we are trying here is to make a new concept in biology -- that proteins can be cyclically replicated. This will have an impact on diagnosis, as we discussed before, but also an important impact on understanding the biology of the disease and it will give us many clues to develop new therapies."

Soto says BSE and CJD share certain characteristics with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, as well as other degenerative neural disorders. He believes his findings could advance efforts to find cures for those ailments.

"Creutzfeld-Jacobs disease, Mad Cow disease, and all the prion-related disorders belong to a larger group of diseases that have in common the same mechanism. And the mechanism is that the normal proteins that we all have in the body, under certain conditions, change their shape and acquire a toxic form that start killing the cells in the body. And this mechanism is shared by several other diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and several others."

Like BSE and CJD, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are difficult to diagnose and doctors have to rely on clinical symptoms, which often do not manifest themselves until the disease has progressed.

"In these diseases, the diagnosis is mainly clinical -- by the symptoms. But this is only done relatively late, when the symptoms are already obvious. The problem with that is that as soon as we have a therapy, clinical diagnosis will not be sufficient, because we will take the patient already in a late stage of the disease. What we would like from the therapeutic point of view is to take them earlier, to diagnose them earlier, before the damage in the brain is done."

The full details of the Soto team's research can be found in the latest issue of the British scientific journal "Nature."


16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE found in post-disease calf

Staff Reporter

Evening Standard---Saturday 16 June 2001


An investigation is under way after a case of BSE was confirmed in a cow born after the introduction of controls to eradicate the disease.

The cow was born on May 27, 1997, nearly 10 months after extra control measures on animal feed were considered to have been fully implemented.

It is only the second time BSE has been confirmed in a cow born after that date, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says.

The infected animal is understood to be a Fresian dairy cow from Somerset.

Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley said: "We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advise that there are no implications for food safety.

"It does not change in any way our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and to eradicate the disease."

Experts have been predicting for some time that there would be a small number of BSE cases in cows born after August 1, 1996.

It was predicted that the first such case might appear in 1998 or 1999 but it did not in fact appear until last year in a Holstein cow from the Dorset area.

Experts had predicted that there would be a total of 17 such cases by the end of this year but the latest case was only the second.

An investigation will be carried out by the State Veterinary Service to try to establish the origin of the infection.


16 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE found in cow born after controls in force

Staff Reporter

Scotsman--Saturday 16 June 2001


A case of BSE was confirmed last night in a cow born after the introduction of controls to eradicate the disease.

The cow was born on 27 May, 1997 - nearly 10 months after 1 August, 1996 when the extra control measures on animal feed containing meat and bone meal were considered to have been fully implemented. It is only the second time BSE has been confirmed in a cow born after that date, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said. The animal is understood to be a dairy cow from Somerset.

Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley said: "We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advise that there are no implications for food safety.

"It does not change... our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and eradicate the disease."

Experts have been predicting a small number of BSE cases in cows born after 1 August, 1996. It was thought the first such case might appear in 1998 or 1999 but it came last year in a Holstein cow in Dorset.


16 Jun 01 - CJD - New Mad Cow Fear

Staff Reporter

Sky--Saturday 16 June 2001


A calf was born with Mad Cow disease almost 10 months after strict safeguards were brought in to eradicate the disease, the British Government has revealed.

The infected calf was born in May 1997, despite the introduction of rules banning farmers from feeding cattle contaminated meat-based feed in August, 1996.

Contaminated feed

Scientists believe Mad Cow disease is caused by cattle eating animal feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal.

It is only the second time Mad Cow disease, also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), has been confirmed in a cow born after the controls came into effect.

The case was confirmed on Friday by Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Investigating

"We do not yet know the epidemiological significance of this case but the independent Food Standards Agency advise that there are no implications for food safety," Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley said in a statement.

He said the state veterinary service was investigating the case to find out whether it would cast light on the causes of BSE, including whether the disease had been passed down from the cow's mother.

Culprit

Some scientists have argued that meat-based feed was not the only culprit in spreading Mad Cow disease, which was first found in the British herd in 1986.

A decade later it was linked to the deadly brain-wasting human disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), that has been diagnosed in over 100 people in Britain.


14 Jun 01 - CJD - Possible CJD Case Reported in Hungary

By Agnes Csonka

YAHOO--Thursday 14 June 2001


BUDAPEST (Reuters Health) - Hungarian health authorities said Tuesday that a 56-year-old Hungarian man may have recently died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a fatal neurological illness that in some cases can be caused by eating meat from cattle infected with ``Mad Cow'' disease.

The announcement came only 3 days after the Czech Agriculture Ministry confirmed the first Eastern European case of Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), provoking immediate cattle import bans from other countries in the region.

The unidentified man died on May 21 in the town of Baja, southern Hungary, after 5 days in intensive care. Hospital authorities said he died of CJD, although they have yet to perform an autopsy, which would be needed to confirm the diagnosis. And it's not clear if the case is related to BSE.

While about 90 people have died of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the form of the disease linked to BSE, almost all have been teens or young adults living in the UK. There is another form of the disease, known as sporadic CJD, which usually occurs later in life and is not related to BSE.

The UK has been fighting Mad Cow disease since the 1980s, while recent cases emerged in Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and other Western European countries. Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic officially protested a European Union report in April that said BSE probably will spread to Eastern Europe, even though no cases had been reported yet. Czech veterinarians detected the illness in the brain of a 6-year-old cow from a farm in Dusejov near Jihlava in Southern Moravia. A second test by the State Veterinary Institute in Jihlava confirmed the first occurrence of the disease in the country.

``Part of the Dusejov herd will be killed and destroyed'' if further tests in a Tuebingen, Germany laboratory with more experience in BSE cases confirms the finding, the Czech Agriculture Ministry said in a statement. The test results are expected on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Hungary banned Czech cattle and beef imports on Monday, shortly after the BSE case was confirmed by the repeated test.

According to a statement issued by the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the ban--which covers beef, offal, processed bovine products and insemination products--was introduced to prevent BSE's spread to Hungary. The restriction, however, does not apply to dairy products and beef which have been tested for prions, the infectious agent in BSE.

Hungary will require additional documents for Czech cattle that have already entered the country to check if they were related to or brought up with the infected animal, Antal Nemeth, Hungary's chief veterinarian told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

Hungary has reported no cases of BSE, Nemeth said. Hungary is not the only Eastern European country to ban Czech beef. Lithuania and Poland introduced similar measures on Friday, while Austria followed suit on Monday. At the same time, Slovakia is relaxing the ban imposed June 10 and will allow transit of cattle from the Czech Republic as of June 13, State Veterinary Administration director Dusan Magic told reporters Tuesday.

``This procedure is in line with EU practices,'' Magic said. Practically all EU countries have limited imports from the Czech Republic but are expected to officially announce the ban in the coming days. In Europe, more than 90 people are suspected to have died of vCJD.


14 Jun 01 - CJD - Commission reinforces research effort on BSE and related diseases

EU

European Commission--Thursday 14 June 2001


Brussels, 12 June 2001

Commission reinforces research effort on BSE and related diseases

The Commission has today set out a series of measures to strengthen research on BSE and related diseases across Europe. These steps are outlined in a communication to the Council and the European Parliament on research activities in Europe related to Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE). The Communication draws conclusions from the research efforts underway in all Member States and identifies actions to close existing gaps in TSE research. It is based on an inventory of European TSE research activities published in April 2001, which was elaborated by a high-level group of experts from Member States. On 31 May 2001, the Commission made additional funds available in the order of 25 million for new research projects and for the co-ordination of national and European activities. One important theme to be addressed will be the understanding of how infectious prions propagate in human and animal bodies. The accession countries will be invited to fully participate in these collective efforts.

Research Commissioner Busquin welcomed the adoption of the communication saying: "Research is an integral part to the solution of the TSE problem in Europe. TSE is a complex disease and much research is still needed to better understand it. The exercise we just completed showed once again that a lack of co-ordinated action in research is one of Europe's main weaknesses. This inventory and the actions we propose is a practical and concrete illustration of the European Research Area at work."

Commissioner David Byrne, responsible for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "Research on BSE is of prime importance to underpin all legislation to protect the consumer. We have a very comprehensive framework of safety legislation in place in the EU, which is constantly evaluated through scientific review. The future European Food Authority will provide an additional valuable contribution in this process."

The main lessons emerging from the inventory are that increased co-ordination and concentration of means is necessary to make most of existing research funds of the European Commission and of the Member States.

Increased co-ordination could cover a wide range of initiatives such as facilitating exchange of information and communication of results; opening of national programmes; expanding research networks to candidate countries or addressing TSE-related social and ethical issues. Relevant areas for increased co-ordination include for instance improved epidemiological surveillance, inventory and sharing of animal models and cell lines, collection and provision of well-characterised samples, quality assurance for the validation of diagnostics tests or best practices in abattoir techniques and waste disposal. Much of this co-ordination could be achieved in the context of the new research policy on the European Research Area.

Concentration of means is also needed in areas that have been identified on the basis of the urgency of the issue, the fragmentation of current activities, the requirement for critical (financial) mass or the need for infrastructure. The TSE expert group has identified the following four areas where clear research gaps exist: in vivo test for pre-clinical diagnosis; human variant of the disease and risk assessment; inactivation of the prion and prevention; animal TSE and transmission.

The TSE inventory can be downloaded from:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/press/2001/pr2304en.html


14 Jun 01 - CJD - BSE: Commission toughens measures

EU

European Commission--Thursday 14 June 2001


IP/01/827

Brussels, 12 June 2001

BSE: Commission toughens measures against Transmissible Spogniform Encepalopathies

The Commission today agreed to put forward a series of proposals in anticipation of the application from 1 July 2001 of Regulation 999/2001 of the Council and the European Parliament on Transmissible Spongifrom Encephalopathies (TSE). This regulation includes a framework of Community measures to combat animal and public health risks resulting from TSE's. Today's proposals reduce the age for mandatory BSE testing of cattle in a higher risk group to 24 months (instead of 30) and introduce random TSE testing on sheep and goats. They prolong the present ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal. The range of imported products to the EU to be governed by protective measures is also proposed to be extended with effect from 1 October 2001. Finally, to accommodate the wishes of the Member States and the Parliament the Commission is proposing to amend BSE eradication rules, introducing an option for local competent authorities not to require the killing of all cattle in herds where a BSE case has been confirmed.

"Now that we are approaching the practical implementation of this key piece of legislation to protect human and animal health from the risk of BSE and other TSE's, it is necessary to make sure that all its provisions are clear and up-to-date, and maintain the highest level of protection", David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said, commenting the proposals." I consider especially important the introduction for the first time of a systematic approach to testing of sheep for scrapie. This will give us more detailed information on this animal disease."

Today's proposals aim to update the standing text of the TSE Regulation to developments that occurred since the Council reached its Common Position on 12 February this year. The European Parliament gave its green light on this text on May 2, freeing the way for its final adoption and publication on May 29. The Regulation's provisions will be directly applicable as of July 1st, and replace the safeguard measures on BSE taken over the years by Commission Decisions.

The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) is to further discuss and give its opinion on these proposals on Wednesday this week. In case the SVC gives a favourable opinion on the proposals, the Commission will adopt them. If the SVC does not reach a favourable opinion, the Commission will submit the proposals to the Council of Ministers next week for adoption.

TESTING

Reduction in the age of testing of cattle falling into a high risk group (sent for emergency slaughter, found sick at normal slaughter and of animals that have died on farms) from 30 to 24 months EU-wide as of 1 July 2001. This is to provide an early warning system of any unfavourable trend in incidence of BSE.

An end to the requirement to carry out testing of all healthy bovines aged over 30 months in Austria, Finland and Sweden as of 1 July 2001. Those countries will however need to continue to test at least 10 000 healthy cattle over 30 months on a random basis. This is because scientists have advised that the presence of BSE in these countries is unlikely and substantial BSE testing efforts since the beginning of 2001 have not detected a single BSE case.

Introduction of the requirement to test at least 50 000 bovines aged over 30 months in the UK in order to obtain a better epidemiological picture. However, all bovines over 30 months continue to be destroyed in the UK.

Introduction of random post mortem testing of sheep and goats over 18 months, thus covering healthy animals at slaughter and in fallen stock as of 1 October 2001.

A facility to allow Member States to test health animals aged under 30 months on a voluntary basis and without discrimination to trade.

MBM-BAN, WHOLE HERD SLAUGHTER AND THIRD COUNTRY PROVISIONS

Prolongation of the current suspension on the use of meat and bone meal (MBM) in animal feedingstuffs. This ban will be kept under review in the light of the future decision on the risk classification of the country or countries concerned and of progress in the implementation of strict and effective controls.

Introduction of offspring and cohort slaughter as compulsory with whole herd slaughter on a voluntary basis in the event of the discovery of BSE cases as of 1 July 2001.

Introduction of a requirement for imports from certain third countries of an effective MBM ban to ruminants and full tracing to the herd and dam of origin from 1 October 2001. An exemption is granted for those countries where scientists have concluded it is most unlikely that they will ever have native BSE-cases..

Adaptation of the list of products of animal origin imported into the Community to include restrictions on a range of new products, especially tallow, gelatine and petfood from 1 October 2001. It will mainly be required to remove specific risk materials (i.e spinal cord, brain) from the production of those products.

BACKGROUND

Use of Rapid TSE - Test

Bovines over 30 months under 30 months exceptions for countries Healthy cattle human consumption Obligatory 100 % DE (24 m) Proposal from 1 July random for AU, SV, SF Healthy cattle destruction Obligatory 100 % from 1 July, except UK UK will have to carry out random sample in addition to all 8-96 to 8-97 born OTMS cattle

bovines over 30 months under 30 months exceptions for countries At-risk cattle (emergency and sick slaughter, for food chain ) Obligatory 100 % Proposal from 1 July 100 %: 24 m

At-risk cattle (fallen stock) - not for food chain Obligatory random From 1 July 100 % Proposal from 1 July exception for remote areas in: AU, SV, SF

Clinical suspects Rapid tests not obligatory Rapid tests not obligatory, age limit abolished from 1 July Over 18 months Sheep/goats - slaughter animals;

- fallen stock Proposal: random and taken from both groups With small sheep/ goat population

- restriction to dead and chronic wasting animals


14 Jun 01 - CJD - Czechs say German test confirms BSE case

By Alan Crosby

YAHOO--Thursday 14 June 2001


PRAGUE (Reuters) - German laboratory results from the third test on a Czech cow suspected of having Mad Cow disease proved positive, confirming fears that BSE had spread to eastern Europe.

The Czech Agriculture Ministry had asked a laboratory in Germany to carry out the test after two Czech examinations showed a six-year-old cow had BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

"The German laboratory confirmed the tests of our laboratories. I have decided that 139 animals will be slaughtered. All of the slaughtered animals will be tested," Agriculture Minister Jan Fencl told a news conference.

He added that three of the 139 animals in the infected herd were offspring of the cow found to have the fatal disease.

He said the slaughter would take place on Friday and that any animals which tested positive for BSE would be burned. Slaughtered animals that tested negative would be buried.

The herd is on a farm in the village of Dusejov, 120 km (75 miles) southeast of Prague.

Veterinarians have already ordered testing of all slaughtered animals older than 30 months.

The ministry will seek 155 million crowns (2.44 million pounds) from parliament to pay for testing.

BSE has spread in herds in Britain, France and other west European countries but until now it has not been suspected in the Czech Republic or the east European region as a whole.

In April the European Commission listed the Czech Republic as a Category III country - likely to present a BSE risk because it had imported significant amounts of live cattle and meat-and-bone meal from EU countries where BSE has been confirmed.

Many neighbouring countries immediately imposed bans on Czech beef -- although the EU itself did not -- but Fencl said the tough controls over beef had long been in place and that consumers need not worry about any meat produced locally.

"Initial measures taken (by some countries) were very tough, and understandable at that point. I think that the tough measures will change into rational and reasonable measures," he said.

"What gets onto shop shelves in the Czech Republic is meat from animals from which specific risk material has been removed and is...safe."

The ministry served roast beef at the news conference in an attempt to shore up confidence.

Scientists believe BSE is transmitted through infected meat-and-bone meal fed to cattle and may cause the brain-wasting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans, which has killed around 100 people in Britain.


14 Jun 01 - CJD - Mad Cow disease hits Czech Republic

Staff Reporter

ITN--Thursday 14 June 2001


A herd of cattle will be slaughtered after an outbreak of Mad Cow disease in the Czech Republic.

The action involving 139 cows from a farm in Dusejov, about 90 miles south east of Prague, came after an animal from the herd tested positive in three separate tests for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE.

The slaughter will begin on Friday, Agriculture Minister Jan Fencl told Czech radio.

The state's agriculture and veterinary ministries had waited for a third round of testing to confirm two earlier positive results.

The slaughter was ordered after the Federal Research Institute for Viral Diseases in Tuebingen, Germany confirmed the Czech findings.

Tests for BSE in the Czech Republic began in January when the state veterinary authority started random testing.

Once the infected cow in Dusejov was discovered, however, tests for cows older than 30 months became mandatory.

Mad Cow disease first surfaced in Britain in the 1980s.

It is believed to be linked to the fatal human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which has killed at least 80 people in Britain and several others elsewhere in Europe.


14 Jun 01 - CJD - Breakthrough in the search for BSE blood test

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Telegraph--Thursday 14 June 2001


Evidence that the agent that causes BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease might be detected in blood is reported today, offering the first hope that scientists will be able to diagnose the diseases before symptoms develop.

Earlier this year, scientists were urged by the Government to submit proposals to develop quick, effective and reliable tests for BSE and vCJD. The procedure announced today would initially be used to hunt for BSE in dead cattle but could pave the way for a simple blood test that would enable scientists to weigh up the size of the "human BSE" problem. Estimates range from a few hundred cases to 250,000.

It will also allow them to target efforts to control BSE by ensuring that only cattle known to be infected are culled, rather than all those aged over 30 months. BSE and vCJD are currently diagnosed by post-mortem examination of brain tissue for evidence of faulty prions, the rogue proteins suspected of causing the disease.

Today in the journal Nature, Dr Claudio Soto and colleagues at the Serono Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Geneva report a way to boost levels of prions by up to 100 fold, making them much easier to detect. Dr Soto's team has found a way to mimic the replication of abnormal prion proteins in the body in "fast forward" mode, compressing years of real-life time into a few hours.

Tests on hamsters show the method enables the detection of abnormal prions in brain tissues, suggesting the technique could be used with a range of tests under development. Dr Tim Wells, head of discovery at Serono, said: "That is the thing that a lot of people have been waiting for and is very exciting."

The method, which is now being tested on CJD-infected blood, could also be used to produce large amounts of infectious prion protein in vitro and investigate if experimental drugs, such as so-called beta sheet breakers, can slow the disease.

Evidence that a prion-like protein may enable cancers to spread around the body is reported today in New Scientist by Dr Mike Scott and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco.


14 Jun 01 - CJD - First Czech Mad Cow case confirmed

Staff Reporter

BBC--Thursday 14 June 2001


The Czech Republic has discovered what is believed to be the first case of BSE, or Mad Cow disease, outside western Europe.

The Czech Agriculture Ministry made the announcement after two tests confirmed the disease in a six-year-old cow from a farm in Dusejov, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) south-east of Prague.

The cow has been slaughtered and more tests will be carried out on its brain in Germany.

In April, the European Union placed the Czech Republic on a list of countries believed to be at risk of the disease.

EU imports

The country has imported cattle and meat on the bone from EU countries where the disease was known to be present.

Infected animals are being destroyed throughout Europe

The infected cow was from a herd of about 400.

The results of the German test are expected next week, and an agriculture ministry spokesman described the finding as "not final yet," pending those results.

The Czech Republic began testing for BSE at the beginning of the year.

More than 10,000 head of cattle have been tested for the disease, Czech authorities said.

Mad Cow disease has been linked to variant CJD, a fatal human disease that affects the brain.