Canadian Cull
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Massive cull seeks to eradicate scrapie in Quebec flocks
Mad cow cost reaches $5.8 billion
Scientist develops supertest for CJD
New support group for blood product recipients
Common microbe may have role in Alzheimer's
Gov't approves small-font meat irradiation labels
Pituitary gland dietary aid for sale
North Carolina dogs end up in dog food
Hog and chicken farms cause Pfeisteria outbreak, memory loss
Suicide by Ocala tainted burger supplier

Massive cull seeks to eradicate scrapie in Quebec flocks

Aug. 10/98 The Kitchener-Waterloo Record/Ontario Farmer Jim Romahn
"A while back Jim Romahn speculated that the real reason politicians and senior civil servants in Ottawa went behind closed doors to discuss scrapie disease in sheep was not concern about cows coming down with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow's disease) or people contracting Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, but about the issue of compensation and government liability.

That is, adds Romahn, precisely what the issue has turned out to be. Depending on who you believe, the government has already destroyed either 7,125 sheep from 93 flocks, the figure Dr. Claude Lavigne, head of animal health programs for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave Ontario Farmer, or more than 10,000 sheep, a figure government officials have provided to the Quebec sheep federation. Farmers are angry about inadequate government compensation.

Many farmers believe the disease came from sheep the federal government provided from its flock at La Pocatiere, Que., because the first flock identified in this scrapie situation was multiplying genetics obtained there.

Dr. Lavigne was cited as saying that there's no evidence that's true and says that guess "has not been confirmed."

Tracing scrapie is difficult, says Romahn, because the disease takes five to seven years to develop to the stage where symptoms show and confirmation only comes after an animal dies and the brain can be inspected for spongy areas. It also appears to affect animals differently, giving rise to speculation that there's a genetic link.

One Quebec farmer who was breeding F-1 sheep from the genetics provided from the federal government's breeding program at La Pocatiere called in federal officials when he spotted symptoms. The government confirmed scrapie, then began tracing the whereabouts of all the animals that this farmer had sold to others.

The list was long because the provincial government offered subsidies to encourage the widespread dispersal of the improved genetics from La Pocatiere.

It also explains why concern has centered on Quebec. Every year there are scattered reports of the disease - for example, one flock has been identified in Ontario, leading officials to three additional flocks this year - but never has the government slaughtered so many sheep. Speed was further cited as saying the disease is not serious for sheep producers because it tends to show up in so few animals, and then only when they are old. But Canada has always wanted to keep it to a minimum. England estimates it infects about 30 per cent of that country's sheep.

Commentary (webmaster):

The first question I would have is, did the government perhaps inadvertently promote a scrapie susceptibility allele in these 'genetically superior' sheep that were being distributed? That is, what was the genotype at the various prion codons known to influence susceptibility. Needless to say, the federal government's breeding program at La Pocatiere would be very very aware of what prion genotype they used -- we just haven't seen this factoid released. Supposing this allele was wisely chosen, we may just be deaing with a bogus conspiracy theory aimed at more compensation. But somehow there has been a large escalation in the number of flocks affected in 1998.

Scrapie was introduced into Canada in 1937 from English Suffolk sheep so it has had plenty of time to make the rounds.

I wrote for details to: Dr. Claude Lavigne, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 59 Camelot Drive, Nepean, Ontario K1A 0Y9Tel: (613) 225-2342 , Ext. 4602 Fax: (613) 228-6653 but have not received a response as yet. The Canadian government's breeding program at La Pocatiere has no web site.

Canada had 47 cases of scrapie diagnosed in 1997, 38 in Quebec (14 flocks) and 9 in Ontario (2 flocks). Ten of these sixteen sheep flocks were depopulated. No scrapie was diagnosed in goats.

There were 7 cases of scrapie diagnosed in 1996, 4 in Quebec and 3 in Ontario, from 6 sheep flocks. Three of these sheep flocks were depopulated. A total of 57 laboratory submissions were made in 1996. No scrapie was diagnosed in goats.

Canada has experienced only one case of BSE, in a cow that was imported from Great Britain in 1987, and diagnosed with BSE six years later.

New support group for blood recipients

16 Aug 98 correspondence
A new group has just been formed called Blood Recall/Withdrawal - CJD, or Blood - CJD for short. The group is being created to meet the information and support needs of people who have received notices that the blood products they received, or their chidren received, or that was used in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) culture that produced their children came from a plasma pool that was recalled/withdrawn due to a member of the donor pool having died of CJD or being at risk for developing it. While the jury is still out as to whether the CJD infectious agent is transmitted through blood products, the receipt of such a notification creates great anxiety.

Common microbe may have role in Alzheimer's

Reuters World Report Tue, Aug 11, 1998 By David Morgan
PHILADELPHIA - A common form of bacteria that causes respiratory problems could be linked to Alzheimer's disease, biologists said on Tuesday.

The organism called Chlamydia pneumoniae was found in the brains of 17 Alzheimer victims out of a total 19 that were examined. Infection was particularly noticeable in regions of the brain showing damage typical of Alzheimer's, the researchers said.

By contrast, the biologists from Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia, Detroit's Wayne State University and Johns Hopkins University discovered the bacteria in the brain of only one out of 19 people who had died from other diseases.

Researchers said the findings could shed light on the cause of inflammation which separate studies have found in the brains of victims of Alzheimer's disease, a disorder which usually strikes elderly people and leads to forgetfulness, disorientation and confusion. There is no known cure.

"What we have here is an organism that can get inside (brain) cells and can potentially trigger them to cause inflammation," said Brian Balin, an Allegheny University neurobiologist who helped lead the three-year study.

Researchers, describing the bacteria as a possible new risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, said they hoped their efforts would lead to the development of effective new treatments for people who suffer from the disease. Results of the study appeared in this month's issue of the journal, Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

Chlamydia pneumoniae is a form of bacteria associated with a wide range of respiratory ailments from sinusitis to bronchitis and pneumonia. But people often can be infected from childhood without ill-effects. In fact, the bacteria are so common that they are believed to infect as much as 70 percent of populations in some parts of the world, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Scandanavia.

Alan Hudson, a microbiologist at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, said researchers began to suspect Chlamydia after hearing reports of a link between Alzheimer's and atherosclerosis, in which the bacteria was believed to play a role. Atherosclerosis, a condition which leads to cardiovascular disease and strokes, is marked by inflammation and a buildup of fatty substances in the blood vessels.

Research found Chlamydia in the brain's glial cells, which support nerve cells and function like an immune system in the brain. When infected, they cause inflammation. Balin said a main goal of the research team now was to figure out how Chlamydia bacteria slipped from the respiratory system to the brain.

A possible route would be the olfactory system, which presents a physical connection between the brain and the respiratory system. Researchers noted that the region of the brain associated with the sense of smell is often affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Government approves less prominent food irradiation labels

August 17, 1998 Reuters News Service
The U.S. government, in a step welcomed by food makers, adopted a new rule Monday that allows less prominent wording on packages for food that was irradiated.The disclosure now can be in the same, usually small, typeface devoted to listing ingredients in the food. The new Food and Drug Administration rule reflected a change first made by a 1997 law. Before then, the wording had to be prominent.

"Obviously, we're gratified. ... It's our hope now they will go further and look at what labeling is most informative," said Timothy Willard of the National Food Processors Association.Irradiation uses tiny doses of gamma rays or X-rays to kill bacteria. The FDA has ruled it does not make foods radioactive nor does it change their taste, texture or appearance.

However, the food industry has been slow to adopt the technology, partly due to limited consumer acceptance.Willard said the disclosure -- "treated with radiation" or "treated by ionizing radiation" -- and the accompanying "radura" logo often were mistaken by consumers as a warning rather than a description of a safe processing method.

The FDA has approved irradiation for spices, fruits, vegetables, pork, poultry and red meat. The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat safety, was studying potential regulations allowing use of irradiation on red meat as well as how to label the product.

In recent months, concern about food safety has brought attention to irradiation as a way to kill parasites. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has argued irradiation was being oversold as a solution.

Glandular Products put in pituitary

The Hepatitis C Foundation
National Headquarters
1502 Russett Drive
Warminster, PA 18974 USA
"Clinically tested products for: MAXIMUM RESULTS. Premiere Lab's gladulars are concentrates, not extracts. The glandulars are quick frozen. Their cellular structure is not damaged and preserved in a biologically active and live state. These exclusive methods to produce our products provides the purest nutrition factors needed for the growth, repair and support of the glands entering the small intestines." ------------------------------------------------------------------------ RAW MULTIPLE Liver 370mg brain 325mg stomach 90mg kidney 80mg heart 80 mg spleen 46mg pancreas 18 mg thyroid 7 mg thymus 4 mg adrenal 4 mg pituitary 1mg (#PL406 RAW MULTIPLE 60 tb $12.95) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ RAW THYROID Thyroid 50mg, adrenal 20mg, pituitary 10mg, thymus 5 mg, Spleen 5 mg, kelp 300mg (#PL706 RAW THYROID 60 tb $15.95) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Commentary (webmaster):

Pituitary glands were responsible for hundreds of cases of CJD, as a source of growth hormone in a government program cancelled decades ago. More recently, the thymus gland was found to be a known reservoir of infectivity bovine spongiform and banned for human human consumption in the UK.

The animal species used in these glandular products is not specified above. Nor is it made clear whether tissues are pooled from a large number of animals which makes them far more dangerous.

Oral cancer prevention: more vegs and fruit, less meat and eggs

International Society for Molecular Nutrition and Therapy - From Cardiovascular to Cancer!
ISMNT News #58.
It is an intriguing observation that the incidence of oral cancer can be reduced by diet intake. The study of Levi et al. provides another piece of evidence that we should increase intake of vegetables and fruit and reduce meat consumption. Obviously the beneficial effect of fruit cannot be attributed to fibre, there should be other yet unidentified causes.

The key reference is by: Levi F, Pasche C, La Vecchia C, Lucchini F, Franceschi S, Monnier P Registre Vaudois des Tumeurs, Institut Universitaire de Medecine Sociale et Preventive, Lausanne, Switzerland. Food groups and risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer Int J Cancer 1998 Aug 31;77(5):705-709

The role of specific food groups and diet variety on the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer has been considered using data from a case-control study conducted between 1992 and 1997 in the Swiss Canton of Vaud.

Cases were 156 patients (126 males, 30 females) aged under 75 (median age 56) years with incident, histologically confirmed cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx, and controls were 284 subjects (246 males, 38 females, median age 57 years), admitted to the same university hospital for a wide spectrum of acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to tobacco and alcohol consumption or to long-term modification of diet.

After allowance for education, alcohol, tobacco and total energy intake, significant trends of increasing risk with more frequent intake emerged for eggs (OR = 2.3 for the highest tertile), red meat (OR = 2.1) and pork and processed meat (OR = 3.2).

The addition of a serving per day of fruit or vegetables was associated with an about 50% reduction in oral cancer risk. The most favourable diet for oral cancer risk is therefore given by infrequent consumption of red and processed meat and eggs and, most of all, frequent vegetable and fruit intake.

Diet diversity was inversely related to oral and pharyngeal cancer: ORs were 0.35 for the highest tertile of total diversity, 0.24 for vegetable and 0.34 for fruit diversity. In terms of attributable risk, high meat intake accounted for 49% of oral and pharyngeal cancers in this population, low vegetable intake for 65% and low fruit intake for 54%.

North Carolina dogs end up in dog food

August 7, 1998  Associated Press
GREENSBORO, N.C.-- Hoping to shock pet owners into neutering their dogs, a county sheriff on Friday broadcast the euthanizing of a collie on his local cable show. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes showed the death of a black-and-white, adult, mixed-breed collie on his weekly program "Sheriff's Beat." He said the taped broadcast was necessary to cut down on the 10,000 animals a year that are killed at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.

On the show, the dog was seen being injected with pentobarbital, which caused its breathing and heart rate to slow and then stop. After the dog died, an attendant was seen picking the animal up by two legs and placing it in a blue barrel. The tape then showed dead dogs tumbling out of several barrels as they are dumped into a truck.

The sheriff's office took over the animal shelter in June because of complaints about shelter management and the high number of euthanized animals.

Barnes said the remains of animals euthanized at the shelter are put into dog food.

Britain reports fall in mad cow disease

Reuters World Report Tue, Aug 18, 1998
LONDON - Britain on Tuesday reported a continuing fall in the number of number of cattle affected by mad cow disease and said a further decline was expected.

The Ministry of Agriculture said 1,280 cases of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) were reported between January 1 and August 7 this year. This compared to 4,311 cases in the whole of 1997 and 8,016 cases in 1996. At the height of the epidemic in 1992 the number of cattle affected rose to 36,000, and around 150,000 animals have been slaughtered.

The report said some two thirds of UK breeding cattle herds had never reported any cases of BSE, a disease believed to have been spread by the use of reprocessed animal carcasses in feed. Britain has ordered the removal from the human food chain of all cattle over 30 months old. A ministry spokesman said most of the cases now being reported were from dairy animals more than two years old.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said last month that a European Union ban on exports of British beef imposed two years ago would remain in force through the summer, and announced a new cull of cattle to help hasten its lifting. He said that Brussels had demanded a cull of the offspring of infected cattle before it agreed to allow export of mainland British beef from cattle born since August 1, 1996, to resume.

Exports from Northern Ireland, which maintains a long-standing and a sophisticated system of tracking cattle movements, have been allowed since June 1 this year.

Brussels slapped the worldwide export ban on Britain in March, 1996 after scientists claimed to have discovered a link between BSE and a new version of the human brain-wasting ailment, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Britain's National Audit Office said in a report earlier this month that tackling mad cow disease would cost British and European taxpayers some 3.5 billion pounds ($5.8 billion).

X-From_: Wed Aug 19 08:39:24 1998 Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 08:44:41 -0700 From: "Bern Johnson" MIME-Version: 1.0 To: Subject: mad fish? [Fwd: [Pfiesteria]-"Study links U.S. fish microbe to new brain syndrome"] Return-Path: Received: from ([]) by (Netscape Messaging Server 3.5) with ESMTP id 362; Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:48:58 -0700 Received: from ( []) by (8.8.8/8.8.8) with ESMTP id WAA01967; Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:44:24 -0700 (PDT) Received: from host (listproc@localhost []) by (8.8.8/8.8.8) with SMTP id WAA07020; Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:40:19 -0700 (PDT) Received: from ( []) by (8.8.8/8.8.8) with ESMTP id WAA06241 for ; Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:35:20 -0700 (PDT) Received: from localhost (kging@localhost) by (8.8.8/8.8.8) with SMTP id WAA16176 for ; Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:35:51 -0700 (PDT) Message-Id: Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:35:50 -0700 (PDT) Sender: Precedence: bulk From: Kathy Ging To: Subject: [Pfiesteria]-"Study links U.S. fish microbe to new brain syndrome" MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII X-Authentication-Warning: kging owned process doing -bs X-Listprocessor-Version: 8.1 -- ListProcessor(tm) by CREN sounds like science fiction, unfortunately it is true ***** Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 07:48:00 -0400 From: New Millennium Subject: NEWS[Pfiesteria]-"Study links U.S. fish microbe to new brain syndrome"

Study links U.S. fish microbe to new brain syndrome

August 13, 1998 (Reuters)
PHILADELPHIA - Researchers Thursday reported the first scientific evidence of a human health threat from a toxic microbe that has killed millions of fish along the U.S. East Coast, saying it was responsible for a new neurological syndrome.

Writing in the Lancet medical journal, Maryland researchers blamed the single-cell microorganism Pfiesteria piscicida for problems discovered among 24 commercial fishermen, sportsmen and environmental workers exposed to contaminated water on Chesapeake Bay's Eastern shore last year.

The syndrome, though temporary, was marked by several disturbing symptoms including impaired memory, disorientation and learning difficulties. The symptoms were most severe among those with the highest exposure to Pfiesteria-contaminated water. But in each case, health problems began to fade after three months and were gone after six.

In separate but unpublished studies, the team of scientists from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University also found evidence linking Pfiesteria to changes in brain metabolism and said contact led to skin lesions among those with the most pronounced neurological difficulties. The health problems appeared to be caused by unidentified toxic chemicals secreted by the microorganism.

"These are extremely potent toxins," said Dr. Glenn Morris, the University of Maryland epidemiologist who heads the team. "What this does is to open up a completely new field of research. We don't know what the toxins are or how they act. And we don't know how they are transmitted to the brain."

Although Pfiesteria has long been identified in the press as causing health problems including memory loss, politicians and policymakers in some states have denied any threat to the public and concentrated instead on the millions of fish that have developed lesions or died in massive fish kills in contaminated waters.

New outbreaks already have been reported this year in North Carolina and Maryland. In North Carolina, where memory problems from Pfiesteria exposure were first reported among lab workers in 1990, two epidemiologists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department recently reported "no findings of any consequence" with regard to the microbe and public health.

One of those lab workers was JoAnn Burkholder of North Carolina State University, the nation's leading Pfiesteria researcher, who has suffered 11 bouts of pneumonia over the past three years. She suspects her respiratory problems are due to the microbe.

Pfiesteria's emergence as a toxic organism has stirred health concerns and political controversy in state capitals along the East Coast from Delaware to the Carolinas, as well as in Congress. Outbreaks are being monitored by officials in six states and studied by both the CDC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Operators of so-called factory farms, which raise poultry and other animals, have come under fire from environmentalists who say nitrate-rich runoff from the huge operations has allowed Pfiesteria to flourish.

And in Maryland, where a major outbreak of Pfiesteria forced state officials to close three Chesapeake tributaries last year, the seafood industry saw sales plunge by more than $40 million as consumers panicked over a supposed threat to local fisheries.

"To date, there is no evidence that eating fish causes a human health problem," said neuropsychologist Lynn Grattan, who authored the Lancet article.

What the Maryland scientists did find was that some sufferers would set out by car on an errand only to forget where they were going and what they had planned to do once they got there. Watermen, who had both the greatest exposure to contaminated water and the most severe symptoms, forgot basic fishing equipment before setting off in their boats.

Researchers, saying people's ability to take in new information was most greatly impaired, speculated that further study could shed new light not only on Pfiesteria but on the learning process in general.

Scientist develops supertest for CJD

THE INDEPENDENT, London, August, 19, 1998
By Charles Arthur, Technology Editor
The Government is funding development of a test for CJD which could detect the presence of just a few hundred infectious molecules in a drop of blood.

The #500,000 project is the brainchild of the independent scientist Stephen Dealler who, in the past, has been a continual critic of Government policies over "mad cow disease" (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

But now, backed by the Department of Health, his idea could produce preliminary results by next spring, if successful. If it meets expectations, blood donors could eventually be screened to see whether they are carrying the infectious "prions" reckoned to cause all forms of CJD, in the same way that donors are currently screened for illnesses such as HIV and hepatitis.

Such a technique is urgently needed. Last month the Government announced that it will have to spend a total of #100m annually safeguarding the nation's blood supply against the possibility that British donors are incubating forms of CJD, including "new variant" CJD, caused by exposure to BSE.

While no case of CJD has ever been shown to be caused by a transfusion, laboratory experiments with infected human blood injected into animals show it could happen. The Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, said last month: "Although the risks are theoretical, it is better to be safe than sorry."

It can take 20 years or more to show symptoms after infection with CJD, and the research shows that blood is very infective almost immediately after infection.

The #100m cost of blood treatment includes #70m for removing white cells from blood, because they are thought to harbour prions, and another #30m importing plasma, the liquid left when the red and white cells are removed.

A simple overnight test that could detect the presence of prions could cut that cost radically. But developing it poses huge scientific problems. "You can detect 10 molecules of DNA from one millilitre using existing scientific techniques," said Dr Dealler. "One of the problems in a test like this for CJD is that you are looking for a protein, not DNA, and for tiny amounts of protein at that."

DNA has a tendency to replicate itself, so tests for it try to "amplify" any pieces in a sample. Proteins, however, do not have those properties. Yet in BSE and CJD, where the protein becomes misshapen, the effect can be drastic. "A thousand prion molecules might not sound like much, but it could be deadly," said Dr Dealler.

The project uses technologies developed by Proteus International, a biotechnology company. It is devising a test to detect the misshapen prion molecules using a combination of antibodies - the cells that our bodies produce as a reaction to foreign objects.

The funding award is a victory both for Dr Dealler and for Proteus, which approached the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1992 offering to develop an antibody test for BSE. "They said that they already had an equivalent technology," said Arthur Rushton, Proteus's development director. "We have never seen it. However, there's been a sea change in the Government's attitude."

Comment (webmaster):

It is not made clear if they are going to notify donors when they prove to be carriers; these people are naturally going to wonder if they will go on to develop nvCJD. People could be tested nationwide whether they gave blood or not. Also not clear that all strains of CJD would be detected, ie, blood could get go-ahead for nv but still carry other strains.

DNA links E. coli at Georgia water park to tainted Ocala burger supplier

August 20, 1998 Reuters News Service
ATLANTA -- The same strain of E. coli bacteria that sickened more than two dozen children who had visited a water park was found in beef recalled by a Florida supplier.

"What this means to us is that this beef could have been the way the organism that caused the outbreak got into Georgia, although we'll never know for sure," Georgia's top epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Blake, said Wednesday.

The outbreak in June was apparently caused when a youngster in diapers had an accident in the kiddie pool at a water park in suburban Atlanta. A 2-year-old died after experiencing kidney failure and other complications.

In May, Bauer Meat Co. recalled 37,500 pounds of patties supplied to Georgia, North Carolina and overseas military installations after a boy became ill from a school cafeteria hamburger.

On Aug. 13, Max Bauer, the owner of Bauer Meat, committed suicide a day after his Ocala, Fla., processing plant was shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nancy Bartel, a USDA spokeswoman, wouldn't comment on whether Bauer had been informed of the water park connection.

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