Muscle-builder hormone linked to new case of CJD
Mexican case of human variant of "mad cow" syndrome detected
EU Commission fine-tunes UK beef ban proposal
Update from Dealler's site
News Blackout in UK?
Cow brains bse risk bigger than first thought
US ranchers ignore mad cow rules
UK Bovril surfaces in Sri Lanka
Reuters World Report Fri, Jan 9, 1998
|LONDON, Jan 9 - A bodybuilder who died from the human form
of mad cow disease may have been infected by injecting himself with a
growth hormone, a French doctor said on Friday.
Dr Jacques Verdrager from Meylan said the bodybuilder died of new
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) in 1996, early in the outbreak of
the disease linked to infected beef. |
"The fact that the onset in the French case of nvCJD occurred earlier than in all but one of the cases reported in the UK is surprising, even if one considers that France was one of the biggest markets for UK beef," he said in a letter to The Lancet medical journal.
Verdrager said a human growth hormone had been used in a drug known in France as somatotrophine which was popular among bodybuilders until it was banned in 1992.
"It is possible that the one case of nvCJD reported in France might be an iatrogenic (drug-induced) case resulting from the injections of bovine somatotrophin contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy," he said.
A spokeswomen for Britain's Department of Health reiterated that the new variant of CJD is linked to contaminated beef. The European Union issued an immediate ban on British beef after scientists identified the new CJD strain. In December, Britain banned the sale of unboned beef as a precautionary move to stop the risk of nvCJD.
OTC (COMTEX Newswire) Wed, Jan 7, 1998MEXICO CITY (Jan. 7) XINHUA - the health authorities of Mexico reported today that the human variant of the "mad cow" syndrome has been detected for the first time in the country. The disease was detected in a woman by physicians of the National Medical Center and was confirmed by experts from New York.
It could be the first case ever detected in a Latin American country of the "mad cow" syndrome. Mexican physicians said that the woman could have gotten the disease in the United States after having eaten infected beef. The health authorities have requested information on the disease from French, British and U.S. institutions.
[This may simply be a case of sporadic CJD. Many newspapers are mistakenly equating CJD (non-beef) with nvCJD (beef). -- webmaster]
Jan 7, 1998 (Reuters)GENEVA, - The number of cases of mad cow disease reported in Switzerland dropped to 38 in 1997 from a peak of 68 in 1995, government figures showed on Wednesday.
Since 1990, 268 animals among Switzerland's total cattle inventory of 1.75 million have been hit by the brain-wasting disease, known medically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the Federal Veterinary Office said. Switzerland is the second most affected country after Britain by incidence of BSE, although its reported number of cases is tiny by comparison.
Mon, 05 Jan 1998 Idaho correspondent"This may just be a rumor, but a friend of my parents apparently died of mad-cow disease in Nov. or Dec. in a Boise, ID hospital. His name was Larry Clark and lived in New Plymouth, ID. It seems odd to me that there are no reported cases in the U.S. when he died from it. But again, I don't know what the coroner's report said."
[This may simply be another case of sporadic CJD. Many newspapers are mistakenly equating CJD (non-beef) with nvCJD (beef). -- webmaster]
CJD in a young person in Perth, Australia. The patient has not yet died but apparently is expected to be dying of nvCJD according to the journalists. The neurologist, Graeme Hankey is not so certain and expects to have a PM on her.
Fri, 09 Jan 98 Reuters World Report By David EvansBRUSSELS, Jan 9 - EU officials were on Friday putting the finishing touches to a proposal to ease the worldwide ban on British beef exports, imposed nearly two years ago in the wake of the mad cow crisis. The intention is to allow a partial resumption of exports purely from Northern Ireland, where the incidence of BSE or mad cow disease is relatively low, and a computer database scheme which logs cattle movements is in operation.
"A proposal is under discussion with the aim of endorsing it at the Commission meeting on Wednesday," Gerry Kiely, spokesman for EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler said.Should it be adopted at the full meeting of the EU executive in Strasbourg, the proposal will then be put before member states for discussion. However, officials say the necessary political backing from Britain's European partners is far from assured and even under a best possible scenario, it is unlikely shipments of UK beef could resume before Easter.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday acknowledged he faced a long haul in persuading the EU to ease the ban. "It would be unwise to be over optimistic about the rapidity of progress, but I believe progress is being made," he said following a meeting in London between European Commissioners and the government. The best scenario Blair could hope for involves majority backing from the other 14 member states at the next meeting of the influential standing veterinary committee -- made up of each member state's chief veterinary officer.
But as it stands, Britain can rely on support from Ireland and the Netherlands, with possible backing from France and Portugal. Others, notably the EU's Scandinavian members, may yet be won over. In Britain's favour, officials point to the relatively small number of BSE cases in Northern Ireland last year, when compared to other countries, where no export restrictions exist. There were some 28 mad cow cases [reported] in the province in 1997, among a herd size of 1.67 million, according to EU sources. This is the same number of cases as in Portugal, which has a smaller herd of 1.3 million. In Ireland, there were some 77 cases, although from a much larger herd of 6.41 million.
And on Wednesday non-EU member Switzerland released figures showing it had 38 new mad cow cases last year among its herd of 1.75 million cattle. But some member states, notably Germany, remain staunchly opposed to any relaxation of the export embargo, and say recent illegal shipments of British beef to the continent have damaged London's claim that it has its house in order.
EU sources have indicated Germany may be looking for a trade off against its request for BSE-free status, which would exempt it from the EU's intended ban on rendered cattle by-products known as Specified Risk Material (SRM) due to come into effect in April. "There is some talk of Germany wanting this put into a wider package of measures," one said.
The UK government won scientific backing for its so-called Export Certified Herds Scheme in Northern Ireland from a key EU veterinary committee in September, but progress was held up by a negative inspection report on slaughterhouses. That problem now seems to have been resolved, but a further inspection visit from EU officials is envisaged.
The worldwide export ban was imposed on Britain by the European Union in March 1996 over the British government's admission of a possible link between BSE and its deadly human equivalent, new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (nvCJD).
10 Jan 98 news items adapted from Steve Dealler siteBiomedical News January 1998: Rapid tests needed for nvCJD and BSE. Article explains why blood transfusion and tissue transplantation are at risk in the UK without such a test. Also discusses the prionics antibody tests that was published in Nature in December.
Laboratory News January 1998: Central Veterinary managers censored BSE research. A report on the work by Iain McGill, who produced work showing that cats had been infected with what looked to be BSE and were not allowed either to report on it or to carry out further work. The worry was put over in the article that the scientific witnesses to the new inquiry would not be able to attend and give useful evidence unless under subpoena because heavy pressure would be put on them.
Guardian 7.1.98: Move to import blood agents from the US. The suppliers to England and Wales, BPL are seeing the American Red Cross concerning the using of American products for the supply of UK haemophiliacs. This is as demanded by Haemophilia Directors (although they wanted artificial products, which were more expensive). This must really be seen as a slippery slope for BPL as there are plenty of other products that could be replaced by import.
Independent 5.1.98: BSE risk greater than thought. In a project carried out by the Leatherhead Food Research Assn and MAFF it was reported that up to 200,000 ox brains were eaten during the 1980s and that these were generally a result of small butchers removing the brain from an adult head and selling it as specific meat. It was carried out by Dr. Bob Hart (LFRA) and Tony Kemster (formerly from the Meat and Livestock Commission, who knew what was going on in the industry). A spokeswoman for MAFF criticised the validity of the results.A copy of the report cousts 65 poiunds anc can be ordered by email. (In 1989 the MAFF denied the use of ox brain in human food - SD)
Farmers Guardian 26.12.97: Inquiry into BSE A year long inquiry will look at the responses from successive governments dating back to the late 1970s to scientitic advice. It will not look at the current Government as it will go up to March 20 1996. Lord Justice Phillips has been given until the end of 1998 to produce the report, which will go to the Agriculture Minister and the Secretaries of State for Health, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Cunningham said that he had already been in touch with previous prime ministers to ask if old papers could be used (otherwise they would have no access to the documents from previous governments - SD).
Waste review: The practice of feeding re-cycled animal waste to pigs and poultry is to be reviewed early in 1998. This follows advice from SEAC
Slaughter total By December 12, 1997, some 816,513 animals had been slaughted this year in the over 30 months scheme and a further 570,801 culled under the Calf Processing Aid Scheme.
Beef Inquiry (Independent 23.12.97): which would be non-statutory and would not take evidence from ministers would be headed by Lord Justice Phillips. It would look at how BSE and new variant CJD emerged and at the action tqaken in response to it up to March 1996, when far-reaching measures were announced by the last Government. It would report by the end of 1998.
Missing witnesses weaken inquiry. Cunningham announced an inquiry under Justice Phillips to report within a year but gave less powers than observers had been hoping. The justice can neither subpoena witnesses nor documents and the Government has said that it will not give evidence (as ministers). Last night nobody could clarify whether this only applies to the present government ministers or whether working civil servants or former ones (such as Keith Meldrum, who was Chief Veterinary Officer throughout the epidemic) were also left out from the witnesses. (This is almost bizarre and I cannot help feeling that whoever organised the inquiry did not realise that just about all the information that would be required by the judge would need to come from inside Government sources. Due to the previous food 'scares' MAFF was determined that all of the information concerning BSE was to remain inside - SD).
Various groups now seem to be getting ready to supply information to the Phillips inquiry into BSE in the UK. It seems that his administration team will be overrun with paper by the 12 of January, which is the official start of the inquiry.
Lord Justice Phillips to have a scientific and a public health advisor. This would seem almost necessary as the subject is simply so complex that it cannot be understood by a lawyer stepping into the scene. The worry by all in the scene is that the advisors will be from one camp or another. How they will find anyone that can stand up straight and be certain of their science is not clear. Phillips will be out of the country until the second week in January and the inquiry is to be based outside the MAFF. Public documents are to be released as required by him. Many people, however are worrying that the scientists will feel heavy pressure put on them to say what MAFF would like them to say.
CJD fears for eye transplant patients: Three patients who received eye transplants from a woman who was latwer found to have had CJD may have to undergo new transplant operations to reduce their risk of infection. Government advisers on CJD have recommended that the donated corneas given to two patients and the sclera given to a third should be removed and replaced with fresh tissue. (This follows statements by the DofH, the Scottish Office, and the editorial in the BMJ stating that the risks to the patients would be low. CJD experts said immediately at the time that the risk would not have been low but this did not reach the media - SD)
Dog in Norway did not have a TSE. The case reported last year in a dog turned out not to be related to BSE. The cat in Norway did have BSE and seems to have got it from eating imported cat food.
200,000 ox brains used in UK in 1980s: an underestimate: The author of the report, which was funded by MAFF and helped very much by a former member of the Meat and Livestock Commission, did not seem to realise that the removal of the brain from a cow head was really very easy with a band saw and that the brain had a price, which was part of offal prices and could be obtained through the society of offal producers (now defunct), which was then in Smithfield. The major food manufacturers said they did not use brain...but they may well have used offal and some of that was brain.
Importation of factor 8? We hear that various groups are thinking of offering the Department of Health good deals for the supply of blood products. They seem to understand the mathematics of risk from CJD much better than locally and have not bothered with any ideas of leucodepletion (which seems really rather hopeful, even if every white cell is removed). The American Red Cross, for instance has products for sale.
Transfusion haematologists taking a realistic view of UK blood products: but they think that foreign ones may turn out to be worse. The worry going around is that there may well be quite a lot of nvCJD in other countries too, but early in the incubation period. Also, there is a 'black market' in plasma, which has been coming from the far east, from Russia and various other places with inadequate testing techniques. The worry has simply been that these places have rapidly rising HIV levels (e.g. some of the parts of the old USSR) and this will mean that some serum will be negative for antibodies for HIV but still be infective. The feeling is that there the UK supply may be between a CJD devil of unknown proportions and the deep blue sea of poorly tested foreign sources.
External blood products could be provided to the UK for little more than the cost of buying them from UK manufacturers. BPL have probably been aware that their costs were lower than those from abroad but it now seems that the other companies are getting ready to bid for the UK market with products that are not a risk from nvCJD.
BSE in sheep? A claim has been made by a local Suffolk country man that he has seen BSE-like symptoms in a sheep that had been fed with scraps of human food. The sheep had no post mortem examination and so he could not be sure. He also says that the pigs that have been exposed would not live to the right age groups to show symptoms. The information was given to the Central Veterinary Lab but not response has appeared.
The recipients of the corneal grafts from a person with CJD will have the grafts removed. Officials had been saying that the risks were 'minimal' and that there was 'no evidence that any infection would take place'. CJD experts were quite aware that the risk was probably high and that there was little that could be done at that stage because the grafts were put in place several months ago. The response in the editorial in the BMJ stating that the risks should be considered as being minimal for nvCJD in corneal grafts in the future was not followed up by the scientists in CJD who would have warned that although we have only seen around 25 cases so far the number incubating the disease may actually be quite high. The major problem is always that the incubating period following grafting is low, possibly 18 months and so the transplantation into older people is not decrease the problem. The authors of the articles in the BMJ have now been made aware of the actual risk associated with nvCJD and another article may appear later.
Incineration of MBM: Stopping of all external bids --. It appears that some of them were so expensive and some of them so incompitent that they cannot possible be accepted. Many of the bids were unacceptable by the DTI and Intervention Board, who are determined that the Power Generators are the ones who will do the incineration.
Not the power generators that are to incinerate the MBM. It now seems that both National Power and Powergen have not agreed to incinerate the material and it seems to be being done by a powerstation type incinerator of the DTI themselves. Information is not being released about this. Exactly what is going on is unclear as the temperatures required for the incineration are reached for only a short period in powerstation type incinerators. For contacts see intervention board.
The intervention board has cancelled all bids for burning rendering products. This has just taken place and means that all these small incinerators around the country that have been fought over may never take place. The sudden turn around, presumably came through the Department of Trade and Industry and must have involved the demonstration of low risks to staff at power stations as that was the problem initially along with the very high prices that Powergen and National Power were thinking of charging.
Worlingham BSE cull Incinerator in Suffolk by Bronzeaok Thermal Processing Limited. I heard this week that owners of the land which Bronzeoak wanted to build on will not sell to them. Good News? Not really because I have just heard today that Bronzeoak is still going ahead with the written Inquiry and has 2 possible sites in mind if negotiations with the owner of the old site will not sell to them. If any one has any information about Techtrol Incinerators or Incinerators in general that might help us stop Bronzeoak from building in Worlingham, a nice village surrounded by large towns, please write to me David Hallows, 22 Manor Close, Worlingham, Beccles, Suffolk. NR34 7RX or Telephone 01502 714508 (this is acting as a notice board - SD)
Bioproducts Ltd (BPL) may be on the brink of collapse?: Factor 8 in UK: 160 million units are used, and of that BPL supplies about 100 million but the Haemophilia directors are demanding artificial products. Gamma globulins are going to be difficult to use with suppliers from elsewhere showing that their products are not a risk. Albumin can be imported easily. Fresh frozen plasma can be handled as bag by bag products i.e. not mixed. What will they do? The talk is that they will either close or import plasma to process. The problem with that one is that various huge companies are already covering the resources of plasma and BPL will find it difficult to find a supplier in a rapid way. Also, they will have to buy the plasma and that will put their product costs as greater than those of the foreign companies.
Gamma Globulin horror story may well appear soon. The fact that 2.2 million doses of gamma globulin have been used in the UK since 1989 may well hit the press soon and through the major audience type ones. One journalist is chasing it up very hard and it seems that it is such a huge story that he will be difficult to stop.
The second BSE case in Belgium. Large amounts of finger pointing with this one but it really does not seem to be associated with the UK.
Lungs to be banned as food by EU. The lungs of the mouse with scrapie are highly infectious with scrapie but few other experiments have been carried out to see how much infectivity was present in other species. The Consumer committee at the EC basically decided that the lungs should not have been presumed to be infectivity-free (as the MAFF had done) but rather to assume them to be infected: and action taken in cattle, sheep and goats. The press does not seem to have realised this yet.
Fri, 09 Jan 1998 London correspondent
"I have to say that I am coming to the same conclusion about a news blackout, but not just in the Times.
The Telegraph has run some stories about contaminated blood products over Christmas / New Year but these have been strangely omitted from the online version and have not been posted.
The Guardian, which has had a number of excellent BSE/CJD articles over the last year, rarely posted them online and they cannot be selected with the search engine. BSE/CJD articles are now rare.
The only paper to run the new CJD death story was the Evening Standard whose first edition comes out at lunch time and which consequently has a very short news to print time - making it difficult for the authorities to police. Even then, the story was omitted from the online version of the newspaper. I have posted a precis of the story, typed in with my own fair hands, dated 7 Jan. It is a graphic description of a CJD death.
Reluctant as I am to yield to conspiracy theories, this has all the hall-marks of the D Notice press censorship system which operates in this country to suppress news "in the National Interest", which in this case means an epidemic. I have mentioned the D Notice system previously I recall, it relies on the "old-boy network" rather than legislation. It is widely known that MI5 have a permanent representative in the BBC news division.
Lets hope it is just that CJD has been temporarily pushed out of the news by the Northern Ireland news, etc. If there is censorship then it has to mean that bad news is in the offing. If not then the UK still has a mandatory reporting requirement to the EU which has an open information policy so maybe the news willl still come out that way, albeit more slowly. Also, the press agency news flashes may cover the stories.
This years first story posted today - looks like many more cow brains than previously thought were eaten in the 80's, this would have been mainly in processed meat products such as hamburgers, pies, sausages, etc.
By the way did you read the 27 Dec 97 article where Kenneth Calman revealed the human titre - one gram of infected material, each dorsal root ganglia contains half a gram hence the ban on beef on the bone. They are in a Catch 22 situation here, they have to ban it because it is a significant risk but they cannot admit this because people will ask why it was not banned before and also because they do not want another public panic.
I have also heard a story on the radio about MAFF researching how many people have been injected with Gamma Globulin as a Hepatitis A preventative. Lots I should imagine as any body who goes to the Far East usually has it. It's only effective for a short time (6 weeks I think) so frequent travellers will have had repeat doses."
January 4, 1998 PA News James LyonsCow brains eaten at the height of the BSE epidemic may have put many more people at risk of infection than was previously thought, an expert said today.
Research commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and conducted by scientists at Leatherhead Food Research Laboratory and the Meat and Livestock Commission has concluded that up to 200,000 ox brains a year were sold as food in the U.K. during the 1980s and that tongue sold in butchers shops and beef blood used as fertiliser could have been infected with the BSE agent.
Butchers across the UK questioned for the survey said many customers cooked the brain to make a pate-like spread which would be eaten on toast before they were banned from sale in 1989.
A spokeswoman for MAFF was quoted as saying that, "We are not entirely happy that the report is accurate in terms of the numbers. ... This is one of the issues which will be examined by the BSE inquiry."
The report was also cited as saying that the practice of "pithing" -- mashing the brain with a flexible rod to stop an unconscious animal kicking out -- could have increased the risk of blood and tongue becoming infected.
Co-author Dr Bob Hart told PA News: "It is safe to say that considerable numbers of brains were being sold in the Eighties, although we need to check the figures.
"Certainly at the beginning of the Eighties there was very little risk but in the period between the emergence of BSE and the banning of brains >from the human food chain there is a risk of infection. "I think the scale of brain consumption was not appreciated by the Ministry of Agriculture."A spokesman for the Meat and Livestock Commission said steps taken to restrict the spread of BSE since 1986 meant the risk to those who had eaten brains was minimal. He said:
"The number of brains sold at that time is more or less right but the number that would have had any health risks for humanity would have been a very, very small percentage of that."Dr Hart said:
"Before an animal is killed it is stunned, usually by shooting a bolt through its head, and in some cases a flexible metal rod is put through and used to destroy the nerve endings. "After this the animal is hung upside-down and this could have led to brain matter leaking and contaminating the blood and tongue."The risk of tongue becoming infected in this way was reduced by the 1996 ban on removal of meat from the head of the animal -- excluding the tongue -- Dr Hart said. There were fears that sheep and cows could have grazed on land fertilised with beef blood which may have become infected.
"I must stress that these things are possible rather than say they have happened," he said.Although bone meal was banned from fertiliser since 1996 Maff says the risk of brain matter re-entering the food chain through blood used in fertiliser is "minute".
Thu, Jan 8, 1998 AP Online By JOHN MacDONALDFARGO, N.D. -- New restrictions on livestock feed are meant to ensure America's herds are not devastated by the dreaded mad cow disease. But producers apparently have been among the last to learn about many of the rules. Wade Moser, executive vice president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, said his 3,100-member group knew nothing about recordkeeping requirements that took effect in August.
"It's news to me," he said. "I doubt any of our members knew a thing about it either. ... The whole thing seems a little ridiculous to me."The North Dakota Agriculture Department and federal officials have been trying to get the word out to producers about the new laws, but they admit it has been a tough go.
"Back in November, we had a special program in Bismarck to get some information out through the department," said Bob Vandal, who oversees feed regulations for the state Agriculture Department. "We invited all the veterinarians, producers, the extension service, but our turnout was embarrassingly low."Mad cow disease is believed to have been spread by cattle feed containing ground-up sheep parts, and last year, British scientists announced that humans may have contracted the disease by eating diseased beef. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August imposed rules banning producers from giving livestock any feed made from the body parts of similar animals. The law also requires producers to keep detailed records to ensure none of their livestock feed comes from banned sources.
Researchers believe mad cow disease is spread when livestock such as cattle and sheep -- known as ruminant animals because of their unique digestive system -- eat feed made from other ruminant livestock. The fatal brain-destroying disease, known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has ravaged cattle herds in Britain for a decade. It is blamed for about 20 human deaths overseas. Mad cow disease has never surfaced in the United States, either in livestock or humans. The FDA feed rules are meant to ensure it never does.
Feed made from ruminant livestock parts must be labeled as such and include a warning that it is illegal to give the feed to cattle, sheep, domestic deer or bison. Livestock producers who give their animals feed made from other animal proteins such as fish or swine are required to keep their purchase invoices for one year. They also must keep the label from the feed bag for one year as proof it did not contain any banned substance. Vandal, with the state Agriculture Department, said while the change might seem cumbersome, it should not create any headaches for producers.
"Most of them keep their invoices that long anyway for tax purposes," he said. "And if I was a producer, I'd want all my ducks in a row in case this (virus) ever surfaced in the U.S. so I could show, `Hey, this did not come from my cows.'"Don Aird, a spokesman for the FDA in Minneapolis, said the laws mandate spot checks of livestock herds and fines for violators.
"We're not trying to put anyone in jail or take their money," he said. "We just want to protect the beef and this is the best way to do that."
31 Dec 1997 Sri Lankan correspondentToday a small packet of Bovril(a drinkable food) came with the Newspapers as a free sample.
This is made out of Beef stock, yeast Estract, Beef, Salt, Colour, Caramel, Beef extract, Corn Starch, etc. Most importantly this has manufactured by the CPC(UK Ltd., Esher, Surrey, KT109PN) and is a registered treadmarkod CPC International Inc.
It is marketed in Sri Lanka by CPC (Lanka) Ltd. 17, R. A. De Mel Mawatha Colombo 04.
[Bovril was apparently banned in the UK as part of the beef-on-the-bone ban that affected many products made from marrow or spinal cord. There is no data showing that the Bovril sent to Sri Lanka originates from the UK or that it is outlaw product being dumped on the third world. The correspondent simply has concerns because in the past similar merchandise has found its way to the less-developed countries. -- webmaster.]