Document Directory

14 Jul 00 - CJD - Don't Worry, CJD Villagers Told
14 Jul 00 - CJD - Alert on village's cluster of CJD deaths
14 Jul 00 - CJD - CJD death cluster investigated
14 Jul 00 - CJD - Don't Worry, CJD Villagers Told
14 Jul 00 - CJD - Worried villagers in alert over CJD cluster
13 Jul 00 - CJD - Sharp rise in deaths raises alarm over human BSE
13 Jul 00 - CJD - Inquiry to look at 'cluster' of CJD cases
13 Jul 00 - CJD - Worried villagers in alert over CJD cluster
01 Jul 00 - CJD - Girl's CJD death 'caused by eating BSE-tainted meat'
01 Jul 00 - CJD - Inquest told of girl's rapid CJD decline
01 Jul 00 - CJD - Farmer accuses Paris of orchestrating BSE cover-up
30 Jun 00 - CJD - BSE found in cow born after start of strict feed controls
30 Jun 00 - CJD - Cow born with BSE despite controls
30 Jun 00 - CJD - BSE strikes cow in 'safety zone'
30 Jun 00 - CJD - BSE calf born after feed ban 'no cause for worry'
30 Jun 00 - CJD - Diseased cow born after BSE controls 'is no threat'
29 Jun 00 - CJD - Alarm over new mad cow scare
24 Jun 00 - CJD - Farmer in 'mad cow' scam is jailed for five years
19 Jun 00 - CJD - US Blood Drought Fears
18 Jun 00 - CJD - Risk of CJD is higher in north
09 Jun 00 - CJD - Scientists launch telling debate on CJD
04 Jun 00 - CJD - Fears for baby of CJD mother
10 May 00 - CJD - Scientist at Oxford quits after sex slur
10 May 00 - CJD - French pate and sausage hit by BSE rule
08 May 00 - CJD - Finding the lost sheep and goats
08 May 00 - CJD - New BSE fears raised



14 Jul 00 - CJD - Don't Worry, CJD Villagers Told

Staff Reporter

Evening Standard ... Friday 14 July 2000


Residents in a village have been told "not to worry" after their area was highlighted as having a cluster of CJD deaths.

Queniborough, just north of Leicester, has been identified by health officials as being a common link between at least three deaths .

Villagers, who found their homes under the media spotlight, have been told there is little chance that more people in the area would die of new variant CJD - the human form of BSE.


14 Jul 00 - CJD - Alert on village's cluster of CJD deaths

By Elizabeth Judge And Valerie Elliott

Times ... Friday 14 July 2000


An urgent government investigation was underway last night into a cluster of cases of the human form of "mad cow" disease in Leicestershire, where four people have died .

The investigation follows advice that the four deaths and another probable case - out of only 75 nationwide - were unlikely to have occurred by chance. And experts are pointing to the village of Queniborough as a possible link between them.

Glenn Day, 35 , lived there, Stacey Robinson, 18 , was a former resident, and Pamela Beyless, 24 , often visited. All three died in 1998

A 19-year-old man who died in May and a 24-year-old who is thought to have CJD also come from the same part of Leicestershire. It was the fifth diagnosis in the area that triggered the investigation.

The junior Health Minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath last night attempted to calm local people's fears, saying there was no cause for alarm and that the victims would have been exposed to the infective agent "many years ago".

Experts from the National CJD Surveillance Unit and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have joined the local health authority to investigate the concentration of cases and say they are keeping an open mind about the reasons behind it and whether or not they are linked by Queniborough.

They will be particularly concerned to look at whether any contaminated beef has entered the food chain in the area, particularly since the implementation of new controls in 1989.

Figures released by the CJD surveillance unit this week showed that there were 12 confirmed vCJD deaths in the first six months of this year compared with 13 for the whole of last year. In total, there have been 75 confirmed and probable cases throughout the UK.

The rise in cases is to be discussed at a meeting of the Government's main BSE advisers on Monday, but they are expected to await the August and September figures before taking any policy decision.


14 Jul 00 - CJD - CJD death cluster investigated

Staff and agencies

Guardian ... Friday 14 July 2000


Link is likely to be genetic not geographical say scientists

The Leicestershire village of Queniborough is at the centre of a major investigation into the human form of mad cow disease after it emerged that three people there have died of the illness.

Junior health minister Lord Hunt told the House of Lords last night that there are four confirmed cases and one probable case of new-variant CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) in Leicestershire, out of only 75 nationwide.

Two of the victims of the disease, Stacey Robinson and an unnamed victim, had lived in Queniborough, a village of 2,297 inhabitants just north of Leicester. Another, Pamela Beyless , of Glenfield, was a frequent visitor to the village. All three died in 1998.

In May, when a 19-year-old man died at the Leicester royal infirmary, health officials said it was "highly probable" that a 24-year-old man in the county also had the disease.

"Statistical experts advise it is unlikely that the higher number of cases in Leicestershire will have occurred by chance," Lord Hunt revealed in a written answer in the House of Lords.

The Department of Health has launched an investigation into the disease "cluster" in the area, working with experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the national CJD surveillance unit and the London school of hygiene and tropical medicine.

Health officials in Leicestershire have discovered two factors which play a part in contracting the disease - genetic susceptibility and exposure to the infection. But they stressed that villagers should not worry, because the connection between the cases was more likely to be genetic than geographical .

"It is unlikely these cases are linked geographically - rather it was the victims' genetic susceptibility," said Dr Philip Monk, a consultant in communicable diseases at Leicestershire health authority. "We are now interviewing the relatives of the victims to try and establish what common connection they may have had."

"When you have got five people who live in a close area, we have a much greater chance of finding the common factor. I wouldn't say that we will do that, but we have a greater chance that we can find the common factor which explains how the prion protein which causes this disease enters into humans and causes new variant CJD," he told Radio 4's Today programme.

David Taylor, the Labour MP for Leicestershire North West, said the cluster was a major concern for local people. "I want a parliamentary debate on it, and I do want to see some central support and national guidelines or care standards issued to local authorities and NHS trusts to deal with this dreadful disease.

"We have got to learn lessons from this. There must be some local factors which have added to the genetic predisposition and the exposure to the prion protein which have made this area especially vulnerable. Let's find out what they are as quickly as possible."

CJD support groups welcomed the investigation. CJD support network chairman Clive Evers said he thought the cluster was "clearly significant".

The reaction of Queniborough villagers was mixed. One member of staff at the Britannia Inn said: "We still serve beef on a Sunday and our sales haven't been affected at all."

Villager John Shelley said: "This is a worrying thing, and it is surprising that this link is to our own village. They have got to get on top of it, and from a research point of view it's probably good that they can concentrate on such a small area. It's not like they found three people with a link to London."

But Rosemary Handley said she had owned a shop in the village for many years and dismissed the scare as "complete rubbish".

"This is all just jealousy because we live in such a beautiful place and people who live in the city don't like that."


14 Jul 00 - CJD - Don't Worry, CJD Villagers Told



Guardian ... Friday 14From the Press Association July 2000


Residents in a village have been told "not to worry" after their area was highlighted as having a cluster of CJD deaths .

Queniborough, just north of Leicester, has been identified by health officials as being a common link between at least three deaths.

Villagers, who found their homes under the media spotlight, have been told there is little chance that more people in the area would die of new variant CJD - the human form of BSE.

Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable diseases at Leicestershire Health Authority, said: "It is unlikely these cases are linked geographically - rather it was the victims' genetic susceptibility.

"We are now interviewing the relatives of the victims to try and establish what common connection they may have had."

Leicestershire has been identified as having had five cases of the disease. There have only been 75 throughout the UK.

First details of the cluster emerged last week and were confirmed by junior health minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath in response to a Lords written answer tabled by Baroness Ashton of Upholland.

He said statistical experts had advised that it was unlikely the higher number of cases in the county would have happened by chance.

Four victims have so far died and the fifth has been described as "poorly ".

Investigations so far by health experts have shown that victim Stacey Robinson , of Thurmaston, formerly lived in Queniborough; Pamela Beyless , of Glenfield, was a frequent visitor; and a third unnamed victim lived there too. All three died in 1998.


14 Jul 00 - CJD - Worried villagers in alert over CJD cluster

By Andrew Hibberd

Telegraph ... Friday 14 July 2000


A village has become the centre of a major investigation into new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Lord Hunt, the junior health minister, said last night that there had been four definite cases and one probable case of nvCJD, the human form of mad cow disease, in Leicestershire. Three deaths in 12 weeks appeared to be linked to Queniborough, which has a population of less than 2,500, health authority officials said.

Research in the village, which extends along the line of a brook from the main Leicester to Melton Mowbray road, will help to determine whether people in the area are more susceptible to the disease than elsewhere in the country. John Shelley, one of the villagers, said: "This is a worrying thing. They have got to get on top of it."

Lord Hunt said in a Lords written answer that the cluster of four confirmed cases linked to Leicestershire compared disfavourably with the 75 known or probable cases throughout the country. Statistical experts had said it was unlikely that this high proportion could have happened by chance.

The Food Standards Agency "stands ready to assist" with the inquiry, Lord Hunt said, and would "in particular wish to be satisfied that no new factor is involved in these cases which requires further action to ensure the safety of food".

The investigation into the circumstances of "this apparent cluster" includes a large team of officials from bodies such as the national CJD surveillance unit and the communicable diseases surveillance centre of the Public Health Laboratory Service. The officials will work closely with the Department of Health, the local health authority, the Ministry of Agriculture and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Lord Hunt stressed that the cases involved would have been exposed to the infective agent "many years ago". Control measures to protect public health had been in place since 1989 and "progressively strengthened". The Government would "continue to take whatever steps the experts recommend".

In May, when a 19-year-old man died from nvCJD at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, health officials said it was "highly probable " that a 24-year-old man in the county also had the bug . The three victims with Queniborough connections died in 1998.

Stacey Robinson , a 19-year-old mother who had recently moved to neighbouring Thurmaston, died that August; Pamela Beyless , 24, died in nearby Glenfield early in October; and Glen Day , 35, from Queniborough, died three weeks later. A former neighbour of Miss Robinson, Baz Lockwood, 45, a computer technician, said: "No one has been to see us to set our minds at rest. Where are the answers ?"

At the Britannia Inn, a member of staff who did not want to be named said: "Some people are a bit frightened ; others are just shrugging it off. I expected our Sunday lunch sales to be down, but we sold out of beef."

In February 1996 a "cluster" was identified in Kent when two deaths were reported in the south-west of the county, although not with the same links as those at Queniborough.


13 Jul 00 - CJD - Sharp rise in deaths raises alarm over human BSE

James Meikle

Guardian ... Thursday 13 July 2000


A sharp rise in the death toll from the human form of BSE is being investigated by the government's scientific advisers with 67 people in Britain now thought to have been poisoned by infected beef.

The figure is 25 more than a year ago and seven up on those for the beginning of June although comparisons are difficult because of changes in the way the inevitably fatal condition is diagnosed and confirmed.

Seven more people are also believed to be suffering the condition following either brain scans or tonsil tests, statistics that will at the very least ensure there is no political complacency that either BSE or its human equivalent, vCJD, is under control .

The advisers will consider the latest figures at a meeting on Monday but it will be another two weeks before they announce whether there is cause for further public concern .

Also next week the food standards agency continues its review on whether it would be safe to reduce some anti-BSE controls introduced over the past 12 years, but widely flouted . Confidence was recently dented by the announcement that a cow born after extra controls were introduced on Europe's orders in March 1996 had contracted BSE, which had in the past few years only been killing older dairy cows that had not been culled as they were not destined for food.

This autumn, Lord Phillips, head of the BSE inquiry, will also deliver his verdict on the Conservative government's handling of the crisis up to 1996.

The Department of Health said yesterday the latest vCJD figure was "higher than we have seen of late , but we should be cautious about drawing too many conclusions from one set of monthly statistics. It is the underlying trend that is more important and the spongiform encephalopathy advisory com mittee will, as usual, be studying the latest data at their meeting this month. It is too early to predict the ultimate size of the vCJD epidemic."

Since April, the CJD surveillance unit has been adding figures of people still alive, but thought to have vCJD, to the monthly figures and there have been other changes to its monitoring. These have included increasing the recorded death toll for 1998 and 1999. The monthly figures often do not reflect when people died but when cause of death was established.

Even estimating the pattern of the disease from the date friends, relatives and GPs first identified symptoms to when people might die is difficult because so far this has varied from seven to 38 months, with an average of 14 months. In addition scientists do not know how long victims might have had the condition before it became apparent through depression and mood swings at first to problems with balance and other coordination later.

Three people are thought to have died in 1995 , 10 in 1996 , the year the probable human link to beef was first accepted by ministers, 10 in 1997 , 18 in 1998 and 14 last year. A dozen more people are thought to have died in the first six months of this year, although in three cases, postmortem confirmation is still awaited.


13 Jul 00 - CJD - Inquiry to look at 'cluster' of CJD cases

By Severin Carrell

Independent ... Thursday 13 July 2000


An official investigation has been launched into a "cluster " of cases of the fatal brain disease CJD in Leicestershire , which experts believe are probably linked .

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, a Health minister, disclosed last night that four confirmed cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and one probable case had been detected in the area last year . Three of the victims died from the disease.

In a written answer, Lord Hunt said 75 confirmed and probable cases of CJD - the human form of "mad cow disease" or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - had been recorded in the UK. "Statistical experts advise it is unlikely that the higher number of cases in Leicestershire will have occurred by chance ," he said.

His comments cast doubt on claims by health officials last year that the three deaths in a small area covering three villages north of Leicester were a "coincidence " and no cause for alarm .

Lord Hunt stressed the five cases were linked to infected meat eaten "many years ago ".But many specialists believe the full impact of the disease has yet to be felt, and have predicted that thousands of people could eventually die from it.

Lord Hunt said controls introduced "progressively" since 1989 had made it highly unlikely that more people would contract the disease.

But he added that the Food Standards Agency, which has agreed to assist with the inquiry, would "wish to be satisfied that no new factor is involved in these cases which requires further action to ensure the safety of food". The Government would "continue to take whatever steps the experts recommend", he said.

The investigation involves officials from the National CJD Surveillance Unit and the Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre of the Public Health Laboratory Service.

They will work with the Department of Health, the local health authority in Leicestershire, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


13 Jul 00 - CJD - Worried villagers in alert over CJD cluster

By Andrew Hibberd

Telegraph ... Thursday 13 July 2000


A Village has become the centre of a major investigation into new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Lord Hunt, the junior health minister, said last night that there had been four definite cases and one probable case of nvCJD, the human form of mad cow disease, in Leicestershire. Three deaths in 12 weeks appeared to be linked to Queniborough , which has a population of less than 2,500, health authority officials said.

Research in the village, which extends along the line of a brook from the main Leicester to Melton Mowbray road, will help to determine whether people in the area are more susceptible to the disease than elsewhere in the country. John Shelley, one of the villagers, said: "This is a worrying thing. They have got to get on top of it."

Lord Hunt said in a Lords written answer that the cluster of four confirmed cases linked to Leicestershire compared disfavourably with the 75 known or probable cases throughout the country. Statistical experts had said it was unlikely that this high proportion could have happened by chance .

The Food Standards Agency "stands ready to assist" with the inquiry, Lord Hunt said, and would "in particular wish to be satisfied that no new factor is involved in these cases which requires further action to ensure the safety of food".

The investigation into the circumstances of "this apparent cluster " includes a large team of officials from bodies such as the national CJD surveillance unit and the communicable diseases surveillance centre of the Public Health Laboratory Service. The officials will work closely with the Department of Health, the local health authority, the Ministry of Agriculture and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Lord Hunt stressed that the cases involved would have been exposed to the infective agent "many years ago". Control measures to protect public health had been in place since 1989 and "progressively strengthened". The Government would "continue to take whatever steps the experts recommend".

In May, when a 19-year-old man died from nvCJD at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, health officials said it was "highly probable " that a 24-year-old man in the county also had the bug . The three victims with Queniborough connections died in 1998.

Stacey Robinson , a 19-year-old mother who had recently moved to neighbouring Thurmaston, died that August; Pamela Beyless , 24, died in nearby Glenfield early in October; and Glen Day , 35, from Queniborough, died three weeks later. A former neighbour of Miss Robinson, Baz Lockwood, 45, a computer technician, said: "No one has been to see us to set our minds at rest. Where are the answers?"

At the Britannia Inn, a member of staff who did not want to be named said: "Some people are a bit frightened; others are just shrugging it off. I expected our Sunday lunch sales to be down, but we sold out of beef."

In February 1996 a "cluster" was identified in Kent when two deaths were reported in the south-west of the county, although not with the same links as those at Queniborough.


01 Jul 00 - CJD - Girl's CJD death 'caused by eating BSE-tainted meat'

By Sean O'Neill

Telegraph ... Saturday 1 July 2000


The mother of the youngest victim of new variant CJD told an inquest yesterday about the last six months of her daughter's life.

Annie McVey, a nurse, of Kentisbury Ford, near Barnstaple, Devon, spoke of the speed at which her daughter, Claire, 15 , deteriorated after contracting the disease. Richard van Oppen, the north Devon coroner, said at the inquest in Barnstaple that the disease was caused by "consumption of a meat product contaminated in some way and to some extent by BSE ".

Claire had been a junior dancer with the English National Ballet, a keen swimmer and a netball player . But her mother said she had become clumsy and confused, she had had outbursts of anger and panic attacks. Mrs McVey told the inquest that her daughter, first saw a doctor on June 9 last year. She died six months and two days later.

She said she feared that her daughter might have had anorexia nervosa, but it soon became clear that she had a serious physical illness . Mrs McVey said: "The effect on our household was total chaos and emotional instability. It was obvious then that she was having difficulty with her balance and co-ordination.

"Over the next few weeks Claire smashed two telephones and gouged a coffee table with a pen. She was unable to explain why, she just looked anxious. The next month saw an acceleration in the severity of her symptoms and regression in her behaviour. Claire also screamed abuse and shouted how much she hated me. I didn't understand how someone I knew could change so quickly."

Mrs McVey discussed the possibility that Claire had a brain tumour. But in August, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, ruled this out; further tests suggested she had nvCJD. Claire died at Little Bridge House children's hospice, Barnstaple, on Jan 11 this year, with her mother and brother at her bedside . A post-mortem examination confirmed that she had died from nvCJD.


01 Jul 00 - CJD - Inquest told of girl's rapid CJD decline

By Simon De Bruxelles

Times ... Saturday 1 July 2000


The first time that 15-year-old Claire McVey's mother realised her daughter was seriously ill was when she refused to wear her clumpy Spice Girls platform shoes to school.

It was a terrifying inkling that her daughter was to become the youngest victim of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD).

Anne McVey told an inquest into her daughter's death yesterday that she had deteriorated with frightening speed but then clung on to life for six agonising months .

At first Mrs McVey blamed herself for her daughter being out of sorts, fearing that her new relationship was the reason for the dramatic mood swings and weight loss.

It was only when Claire told her that she wanted to wear trainers because she felt so unsteady on her feet that she realised the terrible fate that lay in store for her "lively, vibrant daughter" who had hoped one day to study law in the US.

Mrs McVey, 41, warned other parents that the same ordeal could happen to them: "This time next year this could be you. It's a nightmare waiting to happen and until the next 20 or 30 years of incubation we won't know."

The inquest in her home town of Barnstaple, north Devon, heard that at 4.50pm on January 11 Claire became Britain's youngest victim of new variant CJD, the human form of "mad cow" disease contracted from eating infected meat .

Her mother, a professional nurse, described in a written statement how the teenager deteriorated within a few short weeks last summer although, in the end, it took her six months to die.

Mrs McVey said: "It seems such a small thing now. She asked that I write to her school requesting permission for her to wear trainers rather than shoes because she felt herself to be unsteady on the stairs.

"I noticed that she didn't have so many showers or baths, which I now know was because she felt unsteady. Giving up her high clumpy shoes told me more clearly than anything else that I was right to be thinking of physical causes."

For several weeks Claire had complained about "feeling thick" and "out of control". She started asking for notes to excuse her from PE.

In a written statement which was read to the inquest Mrs McVey said: "It was obvious then that she was having difficulty with her balance. Over the next few weeks Claire smashed two telephones and gouged into a table with a pen. She was unable to explain why, she just looked anxious.

"The next month saw an acceleration in the severity of her symptoms and regression in her behaviour. She became younger than her years and was seen by an optician who felt her eyesight had deteriorated quickly .

From being an active and lively teenager whose physical ability had earned her a coveted place as a junior dancer with the English National Ballet , she became clumsy and confused, her speech muddled and prone to uncharacteristic outbursts of anger.

Claire first saw her doctor on June 9 last year. Mrs McVey thought the problems could be a psychological reaction to her own relationship with her new boyfriend Wayne Lee. Two close family relatives had also died within a short space of time.

When it became clear the illness was physical appointments were made at North Devon District Hospital and the Frenchay Hospital Bristol. On August 5 Frenchay ruled out a tumour. Tests later confirmed that she was suffering from new variant CJD.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Richard Van Oppen, the North Devon coroner, said the disease was caused by "consumption of a meat product contaminated in some way and to some extent by BSE" .


01 Jul 00 - CJD - Farmer accuses Paris of orchestrating BSE cover-up

By Harry de Quetteville in Paris and David Brown, Agriculture Editor

Telegraph ... Saturday 1 July 2000


A French farmer accused government veterinary officials yesterday of pressing producers not to be open about mad cow disease. His comments heightened fears over the true level of infection in France.

Officials retaliated, accusing farmers of trying to cover up the brain disease linked with deaths of more than 50 people in Britain and one in France. Farmers' leaders in London demanded an investigation last night. The farmer, Paul Vieille, from Mouchamps, in western France, said a "terrible law of silence " had been imposed by the Directorate of Veterinary Services to prevent panic about the extent of infection.

France, which continues to ban imports of British beef in defiance of the European Union, has admitted to 31 cases of BSE in cattle so far, compared with more than 178,000 cases in Britain. M Vieille said he was warned not to tell anyone after one of his cows was found to be infected. He told the newspaper France Soir: "The directorate and my vet came running to ask me not to say anything to people I know, and above all not to the media." They had told him: "Don't talk to anyone. Think of your children. If you talk they'll be shunned at school like plague victims."

M Vieille was offered £150,000 in compensation to slaughter his entire herd at the market's top rates. He said the money was wasteful and was spent "to cover up frauds and shady practices". He criticised the reluctance of veterinary officials to investigate the true source of his cow's contamination and said infection occurred when the animal was fed rations illegally containing bonemeal prepared on his brother-in-law's farm.

Meat and bonemeal, containing the remains of cattle, sheep and pigs are believed to have caused BSE in Britain. He said: "My brother-in-law gets his feed from a big co-operative and I feel that they'll do anything to clear contaminated animal feed." The alleged official response contrasted with Britain's policy of openness on BSE. On Thursday the Government said that a cow born after all suspect animal food was supposed to have been withdrawn from British farms had been infected, and an inquiry was opened.


30 Jun 00 - CJD - BSE found in cow born after start of strict feed controls

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor

Telegraph ... Friday 30 June 2000


Government vets have been given 10 days to explain how a cow fell victim to BSE even though it was born four weeks after controls to prevent the disease were imposed on Britain's farms.

Nick Brown, the Agriculture Minister, set the deadline before announcing in the Commons yesterday that the dairy cow - a 44-month-old Holstein on a farm in Dorset - had been confirmed with the fatal disease. Last night, as the Government and the meat industry sought to reassure consumers , there were fears that the case would cause another backlash in Europe against Britain's beef exports.

The diseased cow has been slaughtered and destroyed and its calf will also be killed within days as a precaution. The cow was born on Aug 25, 1996 - 25 days after the deadline for the removal of all stocks of cattle feed containing meat and bone-meal from farms. It was killed on May 8, this year, after a vet suspected it had BSE, and its brain was sent for tests which were completed on Wednesday of last week.

The banned feed, containing the processed remains of cattle, pigs, sheep and other animals, is suspected of causing the BSE epidemic which has killed more than 178,000 cattle in Britain. In turn, BSE has been linked to the deaths of more than 50 people from a similar brain disease - New Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

In theory, the animal should have been safe because it should never have come in contact with the suspect rations. But a senior Government vet conceded that it was impossible to visit every farm to check that all stocks had been disposed of. The cow could have contracted the disease by maternal transmission . But its mother was sent to a knacker's yard only three months after her calf was born so vets have been unable to establish whether it, too, suffered from BSE.

Mr Brown's announcement was a sharp setback in the battle to eliminate BSE. Both farmers and meat traders fear it could harm efforts to rebuild the shattered beef export trade. It was expected that France would use the incident to defend her stance that British controls were still not tight enough. Germany was also expected to seek full details of the findings.

Mr Brown said the date of birth of the cow was "significant". But he pointed out that experts had estimated that up to 19 cattle born after the feed ban might contract BSE - possibly through maternal transmission. So far, this was the only one born after that date.

Mr Brown said: "This case does not in any way change our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and to eradicate the disease." There was no risk to human health, he said, because since the cow was over 36 months it would have been destroyed after slaughter to prevent it being processed for meat.

It would also have been ruled out under the Date Based Export Scheme because its mother was slaughtered as a "casualty" animal only three months after she gave birth. The scheme lays down that the dam must have survived for six months after the birth of the calf and show no signs of BSE. It was not known how the animal became infected.

Mr Brown added: "There is some evidence that points to maternal transmission but that does not rule out contaminated animal feed as a potential route. The overall BSE epidemic continues to decline, along predicted lines."

The ministry had known since last week that the cow had BSE but waited until yesterday to announce it, to allow laboratory results to be checked. The Food Standards Agency said the discovery posed "no additional food safety risk". Sir John Krebs, chairman, said "some such cases" had been expected. "There is no risk to food safety from this individual case."

The Consumers' Association called for a "thorough and transparent investigation " into how the cow became infected and any public health implications . "This again reinforces the fact that many uncertainties still remain regarding BSE."

The news coincided with Beef 2000, the industry's main commercial showcase event at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, which was attended yesterday by senior European Commission officials and meat trade figures.


30 Jun 00 - CJD - Cow born with BSE despite controls



Guardian ... Friday 30 June 2000


The attempt to consign the BSE crisis to history received a serious setback yesterday when Nick Brown, the minister of agriculture, revealed that a cow born after eradication controls were introduced had been confirmed as having the disease.

The cow was born on August 25 1996, 25 days after it became illegal to feed cattle remains to any animal or poultry and all stocks had been withdrawn from farms. It had been thought that the ban would prevent any further infection and the disease would rapidly die out as older dairy cattle that might still carry the infection were culled.

Tim Lobstein, co-director of the food commission, said: "Either the food controls for cattle have not been adequate or there is maternal transmission , a new form of transmission that has not been detected previously.

"Until more is known, we do not know how this cow got the disease - but it raises alarming possibilities that new methods or forms of transmission have yet to be fully appreciated by government scientists."

France, Germany and the European commission were informed of the case yesterday with assurances that the Ministry of Agriculture had ordered an investigation into how the case occurred. The government was hoping that it would not lead to further fears on the continent about the safety of British beef.

The government and farmers' leaders were quick to stress that the discovery posed no risk to food safety.

Mr Brown told the Commons that it was likely the cow had caught the disease from its mother - maternal transmission - something always thought theoretically possible but never proved. The second alternative was that contaminated feed had survived the 1996 ban and had subsequently been fed to the cow on the Dorset farm.

Sir John Krebs, chairman of the food standards agency, issued a statement saying the new case posed "no extra risk to food safety" and the cow had been slaughtered and incinerated. Its one calf had been traced and would also be slaughtered and no meat would enter the food chain.

Mr Brown told MPs that some extra BSE cases had always been expected. Computer predictions last year showed it was likely that pregnant cows already infected with BSE but not showing symptoms were likely to give birth to calves that later contracted the disease.

"An assessment assumed by the end of 2000 up to 19 cases born after August 1996 might be identified," he said.

The Consumers' Association said: "There needs to be a thorough and transparent investigation as to how the cow became infected and any implications for public health.

"This again reinforces the fact that many uncertainties still remain regarding BSE. We need to ensure that vigorous and effective controls are in place."


30 Jun 00 - CJD - BSE strikes cow in 'safety zone'

By Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor

Times ... Friday 30 June 2000


Ministers feared a European backlash over British beef exports last night over the first cow to contract BSE since the introduction of tough controls.

Nick Brown, Agriculture Minister, has given vets ten days to find out how the Holstein dairy cow contracted the disease. The cow was born on August 25, 1996, three weeks after bovine material was banned from animal feed.

Officials in Whitehall and the meat industry were concerned that the case would provide ammunition for France to continue its ban on British beef exports. Mr Brown insisted, however, that there was never any risk to human health as cattle aged over 30 months are not allowed to enter the food chain.

The cow was slaughtered on May 8, its brain removed for testing, and ministers were told that the results were positive on Tuesday. But officials say the cause of the disease may remain a mystery as they do not expect to be able to prove whether the animal was infected by its mother, which was slaughtered in November 1996, or had eaten contaminated animal feed.

The cow's single calf is to be slaughtered within a week. All other cattle from the same Dorset farm that were born six months before or after the BSE cow are also to be traced, confined and barred from the food chain. Most are thought to have been slaughtered, but any still alive will be blood-tested and monitored for BSE.

The farmer - who also kept pigs - retired and sold his farm and herd 19 months after the BSE cow was born. Vets are keen to interview him and his stockmen in the hope of finding out why the mother died and whether there was any possible contamination of the feed.

Britain has spent £4 billion and slaughtered four million cattle in an attempt to eradicate BSE, but scientists have forecast that by the end of the year, there could be at least 19 cases in animals born after August 1996.


30 Jun 00 - CJD - BSE calf born after feed ban 'no cause for worry'

By Nigel Hawkes, Science Editor

Times ... Friday 30 June 2000


The discovery of a case of BSE in a cow born after the feed ban was tightened in August 1996 is not yet a cause for alarm . Only if tens or hundreds of such cases appeared would scientists have to revise their view of how BSE is transmitted. Nor does the case have any real implications for the duration of the BSE epidemic because the likelihood of such cases was already factored into the figures.

Two possibilities are transmission of the disease to the calf from its mother or the contamination of feed on the farm where the calf was born a few weeks after the regulations were tightened on August 1 1996. The calf was born on August 25, so the possibility that contaminated feed was stored and used after the ban will have to be investigated.

A more likely explanation is maternal transmission . Roy Anderson, then of Oxford University, told the BSE Inquiry that he believed virtually all cases of BSE occurring after 1994-1995 were attributable to maternal transmission.

The extent of such transmission is not known, because a Ministry of Agriculture experiment to measure it was poorly designed. The seven-year experiment compared the calves of cows that had not suffered from BSE with those of cows that had. Calves in the control group were fed with infected feed, so it was impossible to distinguish between maternal transmission and the possibility that calves from susceptible mothers might be more susceptible to BSE.

It is not known whether the mother of the infected cow had BSE.

There is another possibility, although much less likely, that some cases may come from contaminated pastures . The idea has been put forward by Alan Dickenson, the founding director of the Neuropathogenisis Unit in Edinburgh, where BSE research is done. He believes that pats from infected cows could contaminate pastures and pass on the disease from animal to animal. There is some evidence that this can happen in scrapie, the related disease in sheep.


30 Jun 00 - CJD - Diseased cow born after BSE controls 'is no threat'

By Sarah Schaefer, Political Reporter

Independent ... Friday 30 June 2000


A cow born after tough controls were introduced to eradicate BSE was found to be suffering from the disease, the Government disclosed yesterday, prompting widespread fears that further cases could follow.

Nick Brown, the Agriculture Minister, stressed there was "no risk to food safety" since the animal would not have entered the food chain. He launched an investigation into how the disease was transmitted.

Scientists had always predicted that a small number of animals would develop BSE after the control measures were tightened up as a result of being infected through their mothers. However they said the figure would be too small to sustain the epidemic, which continues to die out after the ban on infected feed was properly enforced.

BSE advisers maintain that the current food-safety measures, notably the ban on the consumption of animals over 30 months old and the prohibition from the human food chain of high-risk material such as brain and spinal cord, would ultimately protect the public from any animals incubating BSE.

But yesterday's announcement was greeted with alarm by food safety experts. Dr Tim Lobstein, co-director of the Food Commission, said: "Either the food controls for cattle have not been adequate or there is maternal transmission , a new form of transmission that has not been detected previously.

"Until more is known, we do not know how this cow got the disease - but it raises alarming possibilities that new methods or forms of transmission have yet to be fully appreciated by government scientists."

In a Commons statement, Mr Brown said a special investigation into the case would be carried out by the state veterinary service.He said: "The case does not change in any way our view that we have the toughest rules in place to protect public health and eradicate the disease."


29 Jun 00 - CJD - Alarm over new mad cow scare

Staff Reporter

Evening Standard ... Thursday 29 June 2000


A cow born after controls to eradicate BSE were introduced has been confirmed as suffering from the disease, the Government disclosed today.

The news was greeted with alarm by food safety experts who said the discovery suggested the disease had been passed on by the animal's mother - a method of transmission not previously proven.

Dr Tim Lobstein, co-director of the Food Commission, said: "Either the food controls for cattle have not been adequate or there is maternal transmission, a new form of transmission that has not been detected previously.

"Until more is known, we do not know how this cow got the disease - but it raises alarming possibilities that new methods or forms of transmission have yet to be fully appreciated by Government scientists."

The animal, born on 25 August 1996, was confirmed as a BSE case on 27 June. The date is significant because it is after 1 August 1996, when extra control measures on animal feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal had been implemented.

Mr Brown said that how the animal became infected was unknown, adding: "There is some evidence that points to maternal transmission but that does not rule out contaminated animal feed as a potential route."

He pointed out that experts had predicted 19 such cases before the end of the year, yet this was the only one so far.


24 Jun 00 - CJD - Farmer in 'mad cow' scam is jailed for five years

Staff Reporter

Telegraph ... Saturday 24 June 2000


A farmer who deliberately infected his cattle with BSE in order to claim compensation was jailed for five years yesterday.

James Sutton, of Clonakilty, Co Cork, was told by the judge at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that his action could have caused an erosion of confidence in Irish exports . Sutton, 49, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others in an attempt to defraud the state of IR£75,000 [about £62,000]. The case marked the first successful prosecution by the Irish authorities under the terms of legislation specifically introduced to tackle the spread of mad cow disease .

Sutton admitted buying a cow with the disease in 1996. In introducing it into his herd he transferred to it the ear tag from another cow. He then contacted his vet about the sick cow and the entire herd was ordered to be slaughtered. However, the court was told, the Irish Department of Agriculture became suspicious .

A subsequent police investigation uncovered a scheme involving the smuggling to the republic of cows with BSE from Northern Ireland to take advantage of premium compensation rates being paid to farmers. An officer for the agriculture department, Declan Holmes, said that the scam could have had huge consequences , not just for the national cattle herd, but for the whole economy.

Judge A G Murphy said that Sutton's crime was enormous , and was on a par with the most serious trials that he had encountered. He told the court that Sutton had lost his cattle, was about to lose his farm, had suffered marital break-up and had been ostracised by his local community. However, the judge said he had to impose a custodial sentence because of the gravity of the case.


19 Jun 00 - CJD - US Blood Drought Fears

Staff Reporter

Evening Standard ... Monday 19 June 2000


America is warning about a "blood drought " after British donors were banned from giving blood to hospitals across the US for fear that they may carry the human strain of mad cow disease. "We are desperately worried about what will happen in the height of summer which is when blood supplies run low " said Lisa Block of the Blood Centre of the North Pacific.

(UK Correspondent's note: the Evening Standard has not quite got its facts together here.

The impact of a ban on British blood donors is minimal, it is the impact of banning American blood donors who have spent 6 months cumulatively in the UK between 1980 and 1996 that is causing the problem.

There are 3 sources of blood supplies in the US: 1) commercially purchased blood (donors are paid and the blood is sold on the open market), 2) voluntarily donated blood, and 3) the military. Sources 2 and 3 are hard hit by the donor ban. Source 1 is less impacted by the ban than the other 2, but large amounts of blood from this source are being purchased for export - by the British Government for blood products manufactured from the blood of multiple donors.

It is an interesting but little commented upon fact that the British Government regards single source blood products made from UK blood supplies as relatively safe but not so blood products made from multiple donors, whereas the US Government has exactly the opposite view. The US view is that the processing of multiple donor blood products dilutes and destroys any possible nvCJD infectivity).

If there is a significant blood shortage in the US, it is almost certain that a blood export ban will be introduced, with a serious impact on the availability and safety of British blood products.)


18 Jun 00 - CJD - Risk of CJD is higher in north

Jonathan Leake

Sunday Times ... Sunday 18 June 2000


Northerners could be at several times more risk from variant CJD , the human form of "mad cow" disease, than those living in the Midlands and south, a study by government scientists has found, writes.

The research, carried out by the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Surveillance Unit, also shows that the rate of incidence of the disease, which is always fatal, is rising across Britain .

The figures remain too low to estimate accurately how many people will ultimately be affected. Estimates range from hundreds to many thousands .

Variations in the incidence of the disease are a matter of deep concern . In the north of England - north of Manchester and including Yorkshire and Humberside - there were 3.14 cases per million people over the five years to 1999. Scotland had the second highest rate at 2.98 cases per million .

The West Midlands emerged as the safest place with just 0.36 cases per million. East Anglia and the south experienced, respectively, 0.93 and 1.37 cases per million.


09 Jun 00 - CJD - Scientists launch telling debate on CJD

James Meikle

Guardian ... Friday 9 June 2000


Scientists are preparing to launch a national debate on whether people infected with the human form of BSE without their knowledge should be told they have the incurable disease.

Government advisers say ethical decisions will have to be made before the introduction of blood tests which may detect signs of the fatal condition before victims display symptoms.

Counsellors have helped some women who wished to be told whether surgical instruments used in caesarian operations had been used on a mother who developed variant CJD, as the condition is known. So far 60 people are believed to have died and 11 others probably have the disease.

Tests are considered a high priority for people such as potential blood donors. Early evidence of the disease, for which cures are far away, would have a devastating impact on families as well as having legal and employment consequences.


04 Jun 00 - CJD - Fears for baby of CJD mother

Staff Reporter

Sunday Times ... Sunday 4 June 2000


A woman who became ill with variant CJD while pregnant has died - leaving behind the mystery of whether she has passed the disease to her child , writes Jonathan Leake.

The 24-year-old Midlands woman, who had worked in catering, died last week. She had contracted pneumonia after becoming bedridden.

This weekend the dead woman's family gathered at their home near Nottingham in preparation for the funeral early this week. Her daughter, now seven months old and suffering from a degenerative brain disease , is being cared for by her maternal grandparents. Neither the baby nor her family can be identified for legal reasons.

The woman's mother spoke yesterday of her anger at her daughter's death , which she blamed on the "greed of the agricultural industry and the incompetence of officials and ministers in the last Conservative government ". She has started a compensation claim on behalf of the child.

Doctors have spent the past few days conducting tests on the dead woman for any link to her child's illness. All that can be said with certainty is that the baby's symptoms have similarities to those found in variant CJD .

Doctors have not, however, been able to find any sign of the so-called prion protein particles that are widely believed to be the cause of variant CJD.

If the investigation finds she was infected by her mother, it would mean generations of children as yet unborn could be affected. There is evidence that prion disease can transmit from mother to offspring in sheep and cattle.


10 May 00 - CJD - Scientist at Oxford quits after sex slur

By Sally Pook

Telegraph ... Monday 10 May 2000


One of Britain's most distinguished scientists has resigned from Oxford University four months after being suspended for suggesting that a female scientist had gained her post by sleeping with a professor.

(UK Editor's note: Professors Anderson was noted for his work on nvCJD but was unwilling to toe the MAFF line. His departurefrom his job, like Professor Lacey's many years ago, was almost certainly MAFF initiated.)

Roy Anderson, who advised the Government on BSE and Aids, has already resigned as director of a research centre at the university after two inquiries criticised its management and financial affairs. He gave notice to the university yesterday after telling colleagues in the department of zoology that he was taking a chair at Imperial College, London, in infectious diseases and epidemiology at its school of medicine. In a statement through the college, he said he was delighted.

Prof Anderson was suspended in January after allegedly suggesting that his colleague, Sunetra Gupta, had an affair with the head of the zoology department. Oxford reinstated him as Linacre Professor of Zoology after he apologised in writing to those concerned. But senior faculty members called for him to be banned from sitting on selection panels.

Dr Gupta, a reader in epidemiology, consulted lawyers and still wants a published apology.


10 May 00 - CJD - French pate and sausage hit by BSE rule

By John Lichfield in Paris

Independent ... Monday 10 May 2000


French gastronomes are up in arms over tougher new rules to protect consumers from bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) which could outlaw certain kinds of traditional sausages and pate .

The independent French food safety agency Afssa, which inspired the unilateral French ban on British beef imports, has recommended that the intestines of cows slaughtered in France should be destroyed and removed from the food chain.

Small and large cow intestines are used to encase some kinds of charcuterie, or cooked sausages. They are also a traditional ingredient of pâté or potted meat called rillettes .

The food safety agency has told the government that cow intestines carry a high risk of transmission of BSE in its human variant, Creutzfeldt Jakob's disease (CJD). It has recommended that the intestines removed from all French cows that were born before March 1998 - 51,000 tons of meat a year - should be destroyed .

The recommendation, made three months ago but not yet implemented by the government, has caused indignation in the charcuterie industry.

Most French cooked meat products are made from pork. But certain types - andouilles , andouillettes , saucisse de Morteau and the jésus de Lyon , as well as rillettes - rely on cow guts . Outlawing their use would destroy recipes and traditions which go back for centuries, the industry complains. Artificial, plastic, sausage cases are available but they alter the taste of the finished product.

An agriculture ministry official threw oil on the flames by telling the press: "France can live without rillettes and andouilles [sausages]." An indignant spokesman for the charcuterie industry said that this remark "demonstrated the ignorance of the technocrats who make such decisions".

The outcome of the row will be watched very closely by British officials. When the food safety agency are recommended a continuing ban on British beef imports, in defiance of the European Union law, the French government said that it had no choice but to accept the decision - the principle of extreme precaution in protecting human health must prevail.


08 May 00 - CJD - Finding the lost sheep and goats

Kablenet

Kablenet News ... Monday 08 May 2000


The Ministry of Agriculture is looking forward to the day when every sheep and goat in England will have an electronic tag

The Ministry of Agriculture is telling farmers in England that they will soon have to be able to identify every sheep and goat -- from birth -- on their farms. Not electronically yet, but the ministry is warning that such an option is not far off .

In the wake of the UK's 10-year-old mad cow disaster, every cow and bull now has an electronic "passport", by which the ministry can follow them through their lives -- and identify their parents and offspring. But cows are large and hard to move. Sheep and lambs tend to roam the moors and downs in their thousands.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is in the final stages of a consultation on the proposal, which started with a European directive. It has decided to back off a suggestion that every animal should be individually identified from birth but wants "any system" to have "a capacity to develop" in that way "if it were subsequently thought desirable".

The ministry says that it wants "to consider electronic identification for sheep and goats " and states that "in the longer term this must be the way forward ". The EU is trying out methods of electronic identification and the ministry is waiting to take them into account. But MAFF covers only England: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland -- also subject to the EU directive -- might choose different solutions


08 May 00 - CJD - New BSE fears raised

Staff Reporter

Independent ... Monday 08 May 2000


The BSE epidemic may last longer than previously thought because of a "real risk" that the disease was spread by cow pats from infected cattle , a leading scientist has said.

BSE expert Dr Alan Dickenson told Radio Four's Farming Today programme that his research suggested cattle continued to catch BSE long after the date the Government believed was possible.

The new findings sparked fears that Britain was risking another trade war with France and Germany over the spread of the disease.

Microbiologist Dr Stephen Dealler told the programme that unless urgent action was taken to curb the spread of the disease, the French and Germans would impose new restrictions on British beef.

The Government has insisted that the last cattle were infected in August 1996 , either through contaminated feed or, in a small number of cases, from mother to calf.

But Dr Dickenson, the founding director of the Neuropathogenisis Unit in Edinburgh which researches BSE, warned that animals born after August 1996 may have caught the disease a "third way" , through infected soil .

His research shows that cow pats excreted on to grazing land by cattle at the height of the epidemic posed a "real risk" of infection.

If cattle born after August 1996 caught BSE through infected soil, the epidemic would last longer than the Government predicted.

The disease's five-year incubation period means it will not be possible to tell whether Dr Dickenson is right until 2001 .

Dr Dealler said he feared France and Germany would extend their bans on the import of British beef unless the Government takes action to stop the spread of the disease.

He added that the future spread of BSE could be "drastically reduced" if cattle and sheep were injected with the drug pentosan polysulphate.

The compound, used in the United States to treat cystitis, has been shown to drastically reduce BSE infectivity in laboratory mice, Dr Dealler said.