Prions
Mad Cow Home or Best Links

Push to build incinerators for BSE cattle
Yorkshire uses charcoal cows to purify drinking water
CJD death `caused by BSE-infected beef'
Germany probing suspected import of UK beef
USDA to inspect ground meat for bone marrow, spinal cord
US cattle renderers to sue Brussels for $100m
Semen, embryos safety questioned
Most BSE cases in Europe 'are not reported'
"Most BSE cases in Europe/US/Canada/elsewhere are not reported?"
Belgian wholesaler sents our 44 tons of mystery meat
Open Letter to David Satcher of CDC
American Red Cross responds to CJD blood donor
Making CJD a 'Reportable' disease in the US
The not-so-good old days of human growth hormone
Vegetarian Kosher gelatin
USDA surprises on food safety --Glickman audio

Push to build incinerators for BSE cattle

August 25 1997  The Times BY DOMINIC KENNEDY
INCINERATORS to burn cattle suspected of having "mad cow" disease are to be built all over the country as the Government struggles to dispose of the growing offal mountain in cold stores.

Councils have been told by Whitehall to give urgent priority to planning applications for incineration plants to cope with the backlog of cattle being slaughtered. Already 1.5 million beasts older than 30 months have been killed and another 800,000 will be sent to the slaughterhouse this year, under the Government's precautionary programme to restore confidence in beef.

That has left 350,000 tonnes of meat, bonemeal and tallow in cold stores, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, because there are too few incinerators to burn the remains.

The Department of the Environment wrote this month to local authorities across England urging them to hold "full and early discussions" with interested parties to construct incineration plants. The Government fears that opposition from local residents may delay planners from granting permission.

Whitehall has been keen to reassure councils that only healthy cattle at the end of their working lives were disposed of by burning. The risk to public health was infinitesimal. Jack Cunningham, the Agriculture Minister, yesterday said that he might raise with the European Union a study which says continental countries are hugely underreporting cases of BSE.

A new report by three respected experts on animal disease appeared to support British farmers' longstanding suspicions that other European countries have underestimated the scale of BSE infection in their herds. Public fears have been heightened by the case of Clare Tomkins, 24, who is dying of the new variant of CJD although she has been a vegetarian since 1986.

Cow bones from India to filter UK drinking water

LONDON, Aug. 21 The Associated Press By Dirk Beveridge
A north England utility is filtering some of its water supply through the bones of sacred cows that have been burned into charcoal and horrified vegetarians are turning off their taps.

Yorkshire Water PLC says it uses only bones imported from India, where cows are considered sacred and allowed to live out their natural lives. Their old, brittle bones make perfect raw material for charcoal filters. [Older cows are more at risk for BSE -- webmaster] Using cattle from Western societies that slaughter them young for beef would not work so well because "their bones, like a human baby's, are still relatively soft," Yorkshire Water said in a statement. Yorkshire Water, which nonplused Brits once before when a utility executive made a point of stopping bathing during a 1995 drought, said its water meets all safety standards. However, it said "we can't undertake to supply water which meets individual dietary needs or individual religious, ethical or medical needs."

The company assures that because all bones are imported, there is no way any of Britain's mad cows believed to cause a rare but fatal human brain ailment could end up as water filter. The Vegetarian Society, which campaigns against the use of animal products, is not impressed. "Vegetarians throughout Yorkshire will be sickened by this move," spokesman Steve O'Connor said Thursday. Mistrust in Taps "It is impossible for the consumer to choose their water supply. Therefore, we are left in the frightening situation where we can no longer trust what comes out of our taps." Yorkshire Water spokesman Norman Hurst refused to answer questions.

Other water companies use charcoal filters made of wood or coconut, but none of the 17 English and Welsh members of the London-based Water Companies Association use charcoal made from bones."I think they're sensitive to the idea that these are bones," said Adrian Beeby, spokesman for the trade group.The company's statement said the cow bones are used in 10 rural water treatment plants and will be added at six more plants.

"I think it's disgraceful," said Miriam Scott, a retired home economist who lives in the village of Ingleton. "As a vegetarian, I obviously hate the idea. We've always thought water to be pure."

Scott doesn't know whether her tap water comes from the treatment plant at nearby Chapel-le-Dale, where Yorkshire Water uses the bone charcoal. Until she finds out, she'll buy bottled water, although as an environmentalist she dislikes the plastic packaging. "You're betwixt two difficult situations," Scott said.

Inquest resumes into CJD death

 PA News   By Allan Smith
 Tue, Aug 19, 1997
An inquest resumes today into a teenager who died from the brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Relatives of Matthew Parker, 19, from Doncaster, are hoping the coroner will recognise his death as being linked to BSE infected beef. Trainee chef Matthew, of Livingstone Avenue, Clay Lane, died in March last year after a year-long illness they believe was caused by eating infected meat.

The inquest resumes at Doncaster on the day the newly formed Families Association, made up of relatives of victims, launch a campaign to rename the new-variant strain generally linked to infected beef as Human BSE. Chairman Dave Churchill, who's son Steve, 19, died from the disorder two years ago, said: "The use of the CJD label has caused untold confusion in the media and untold distress to relatives.

"We believe that adopting the name Human BSE will truly reflect the origin of this quite distinct disease and clear up the confusion that exists between it and other unrelated forms of CJD."
CJD claims around 50-60 lives a year. Previously it was largely considered a disease of the elderly or associated with people being treated by Human Growth Hormone. But in 1996 a new strain, new variant CJD, was identified and apparently linked to BSE-infected beef.

Matthew's father Mr John Middleton (correct), aged 43, a Families Association member, said of today's inquest: "All we want is for Matthew's death to be recognised as having been from Human BSE, and that this disease was caused by infection from BSE infected meat."

He said that he already had a death certificate stating that death was due to CJD. The Association is fighting for a public judicial inquiry into the disorder. They want the disease to be made notifiable and they want compensation for those in need.

CJD death `caused by BSE-infected beef'

August 20, 1997
PA News
Richard Spencer
A U.K. coroner today ruled that the death of a 19-year-old trainee chef from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was linked with consumption of BSE-infected meat. Deputy Doncaster coroner Fred Curtis was cited as saying that on the balance of probabilities the scientific evidence showed there was a link between the teenager's infection with new variant CJD and his having eaten infected meat.

Mr Curtis also added that more scientific work was needed before the link between new variant CJD and BSE could be proved conclusively. The story adds that the verdict came on the day the newly-formed Families Association, comprising relatives of victims, launched a campaign to rename the new variant strain of CJD, which is generally linked to infected beef, as Human BSE.

Coroner links CJD death to eating infected meat

The Independent, 21 Aug 1997:
Charles Arthur
The Government came under renewed pressure to open a public inquiry into the risks posed to humans by "mad cow" disease, after a coroner linked a 19-year-old trainee chef's death to having eaten BSE-infected food.

Recording a verdict of misadventure on Matthew Parker, of Doncaster, who died of the new variant of the incurable brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in March, deputy coroner Fred Curtis said that on the balance of probabilities the medical evidence showed a link between the teenager's infection with CJD and the consumption of BSE-infected food. He was said to have had an appetite for burgers pies and sausages.

The solicitor to the Parker family, David Brody, said after the verdict:

"The link with BSE has been accepted by the coroner and we are pleased with that. We have suggested to the Government that a public inquiry is what is needed now."
Yesterday was the second time that a UK coroner has blamed a CJD death on BSE. Last October, a Belfast coroner linked the two diseases in the death of Maurice Callaghan, 30, whose wife told the inquest that he had eaten red meat two or three times a week. There have been 21 recorded cases of new variant CJD in the UK since it was first identified in 1995.

Mathew Parker not a new statistic

21 Aug 1997 Listserve
Reports in the media today of the inquest yesterday on Matthew Parker, aged 19 who died of nvCJD. For those compiling statistics, Matthew is not a new additional case -- he died on 23 March 1997.

On the basis of current knowledge, and in terms of the legal requirements affecting the way coroners have to reach their conclusions, the coroner got it just about right. He is reported as saying that while there was no scientific certainty as to the link between nvCJD and BSE "On the balance of probabilities, which is the test I have to apply, I accept that there is a link. I have done so after careful consideration".

Germany probing suspected import of UK beef

Aug. 20/97  Reuters
HAMBURG, Germany -- The Hamburg prosecutors office was cited as saying that they are investigating the suspected import of more than 600 tons of banned beef from Britain, of which they believe 440 tons were further shipped to eastern European countries. The story says authorities had confiscated 60 tons of British beef, stored at the town of Kaltenkirchen, 25 kilometers north of Hamburg, and that the meat may be tainted by mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

The story adds that word of the British beef in Germany brought immediate calls for a beef boycott by the environmental Greens party in Bonn, which said in a statement that consumers could no longer be certain of the meat without clear signs of its source.

USDA to inspect ground meat for bone marrow, spinal cord

February 21, 1997  Listserve
From Correspondent Eugenia Halsey
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Consumer groups have complained for several years that ground beef, sausage and hot dogs contain bone marrow, and sometimes even bits of spinal cord.

They say that the meat in animals necks and other hard-to- reach places is removed from the bone by machine, which is not as precise as when it is done by hand. Thus, there is a greater likelihood that pieces of bone marrow and spinal cord will find their way into meat that has been processed by boning machines.

It is estimated that such machines produce 400 million pounds of ground meat a year that is then mixed in with other ground meat.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms consumers' complaints. It found that there was, on average, 20 times more bone marrow in meat separated by machine than in meat removed by hand.

It also found other problems in the process known as "advanced meat recovery." "Some advanced meat recovery systems samples contain spinal cord," says Margaret Glavin of the USDA. "Spinal cord is not an expected component of meat."
Agriculture department officials insist meat is safe. Still, they are going to tell inspectors to make sure no spinal cord goes into the machines, and it is considering using chemical tests to confirm it. And for good reason.

The "mad cow" disease that has troubled Britain and Europe has never been detected in cows in the United States. But if a cow did get sick, the deadly brain disease could spread through the spinal cord tissue and infect anyone who ate it.

"We're constantly aware that this could be a problem," says Kay Wachsmuth of the USDA, "and we are watching both the animal and human side of things."
Consumer groups say they're pleased the government is taking another look at the matter, but will wait and see whether it actually results in less bone marrow in meat.
"This doesn't meet the legal definition of meat, and there's a potential problem in relation to spinal cord," says Robert Hahn of Public Voice. "The meat industry has repeated often that 'consumer confidence is our chief concern.' Therefore, if USDA identifies new procedures to improve a product, we will give the agency our full support."
You can't tell by looking at the label whether meat has been mechanically separated from the bone, and the USDA has no plans to change that. But two fast food giants-- McDonald's and Burger King-- say they don't use such meat.

US cattle renderers to sue Brussels for $100m

FRIDAY AUGUST 15 1997  By Neil Buckley in Brussels  Financial Times
The US rendering industry is planning a $100m-plus lawsuit against the European Commission over new meat safety rules designed to control the spread of "mad cow" disease. Renderers, who boil down carcases, are preparing to sue Brussels in the European Court of Justice unless it changes rules which could bar US exports of tallow used in products from candles to painkillers. The trade is worth Ecu100m ($107m) a year.

The rules, adopted last month and due to come into force in January, ban the parts of cattle - mostly brain and spinal cord and brain - most at risk of carrying mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, from being used for any purpose including making tallow.

Other US industries affected by the rules are considering joining the lawsuit, which could dramatically increase the potential damages. The National Cattlemen's Association, representing US beef farmers, this week dismissed the EU measures as "crazy".

The US has threatened to complain to the World Trade Organisation. It says the rules have no scientific basis, but in effect force it to bring its slaughterhouse practices into line with Europe's if it wants to continue exporting a range of products. This would mean removing the parts of cattle banned by the EU.

Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics makers, which rely on tallow derivatives such as fatty acids, have warned that a lack of supplies of material meeting the new EU standards could lead to temporary shutdowns of manufacturing and product shortages.

Brussels has ruled out re-examining the rules before a meeting of EU scientific experts on September 8. Mrs Emma Bonino, consumer protection commissioner, made clear this week she believed the ban was justified on health grounds.

US renderers want exports of their tallow derivatives to the EU exempted >from the rules. They cite the opinion of another EU scientific committee to the effect that heat-treated tallow derivatives pose no risk of transmitting mad cow disease.

If the exemption is not granted, they have instructed Mr Raymond Calamaro, a lawyer with the Washington firm Hogan & Hartson, working with a Brussels lawyer, to prepare a case under a rarely used article of the Treaty of Rome, the EU's founding treaty. Article 215 says European Commission actions must be governed by law, otherwise Brussels must "make good any damage caused by its institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties".

UK beef: Scientists re-open 'mad cow' fracas

14 Aug 97 By Alison Maitland in London
Financial Times ... Thursday 14 August 1997
Scientists in Brussels have raised doubts about the safety of cattle semen, calling for a review of the only UK beef product that is exempt from the European Union's worldwide ban on exports of British beef and its derivatives. UK officials are worried that any move to declare semen unsafe on the grounds that it might transmit BSE , or "mad cow disease", would jeopardise efforts to win concessions from the 17-month-old ban for beef classed as safe from the disease. A clampdown on the small UK export trade in semen would be damaging politically and a severe blow to exporters' hopes of increasing sales as British cattle genetics improve in the next 10 years.

A review of the safety of semen has been requested by the multidisciplinary scientific committee set up by the European Commission to investigate and advise it on BSE-related problems. The committee has asked a German scientist at the Berlin institute for the protection of consumer health and veterinary medicine to report back on September 8 on whether BSE can be transmitted through bovine semen and embryos.

"He has been asked to see if the trade in semen and embryos has to be stopped or can be recommended [to continue] without danger," said a Brussels official.
The September meeting promises to be controversial . On the agenda is the demand from US tallow manufacturers to be exempted from new EU meat safety rules which threaten their lucrative export trade. The scientists will also consider whether to extend the definition of "specified risk material" - the parts of cattle and sheep banned because they are most likely to carry BSE - to include intestines.

Semen was included in the export ban announced in March last year but exempted three months later along with gelatine and tallow. However, the Commission was unconvinced that processing methods for gelatine and tallow were sufficient to destroy the BSE agent and reinstated the ban on them.

An embargo on embryos from the UK remains in place, according to government officials. Commission officials said doubts had been raised about semen and embryos by UK evidence that the disease can be passed from cow to calf. It is not known how maternal transmission, which is thought to occur at a rate of under 2 per cent, takes place .

Any move to declare semen unsafe would complicate UK attempts to win EU approval for exports of beef from herds that have not had BSE - and from animals born after last August, when it became illegal to hold stocks of potentially contaminated feed made from meat and bonemeal.

Vegetarian Kosher gelatin

15 Jul 1997  Kati Hanna 
I have in front of me a box of "Emes Plain Kosher-Jel" (they also make flavored gelatins). Box says "Contains Carageenan, Locust Bean Gum & Malto-Dextrin. Directions: Use with any recipe for plain gelatin. One envelope equals one tablespoon. Emes Kosher Products Lombard, IL 60148-0833."

So it is a vegetarian substitute which I bought at my wonderful local good co-op. Kosher is complicated but refers not only to methods of slaughter but also standards of cleanliness, sanitation, raising of the animals, etc. And many dairy and meat dishes cannot be combined so that having a non-meat source of gelatin would be important.

There is a website at What is Kosher?

The not-so-good old days: working with pituitary growth hormone in North America, 1956 to 1985.

J Pediatr 1997 Jul;131(1 Pt 2):S1-S4 
Frasier SD
Before 1985 the use of growth hormone (GH) was governed by a philosophy of scarcity and conservation of resources. Between 1956 and 1959 human pituitary GH was shown to be effective. The competition for gland collection and extraction that followed benefited only certain patients with motivated parents and only a few investigators. To maximize gland collection, the distribution of GH for clinical investigation, and the number of patients who could be treated, the National Institutes of Health and the College of American Pathologists formed the National Pituitary Agency (NPA). In Canada a similar program was developed by the Canadian Medical Research Council.

For more than 20 years the NPA supervised most of the GH treatment in the United States. Commercial pituitary GH entered the U.S. market in 1976, and competition soon appeared. Patients treated through the NPA were subjects in clinical studies for part of the first year of treatment, after which the limited availability of GH dictated treatment for only part of the year and caps on final heights. By 1984 treatment was year round and the height caps largely unenforced. In the last year of its distribution NPA GH was used in 2450 patients in the United States and commercial pituitary GH was used in 600 to 800; slightly more than 300 patients were being treated in Canada. And then, in 1985, came Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.

While the not-so-good old days are gone and need not be lamented, there remains virtue in a conservative therapeutic philosophy. If anything can be learned from the use of pituitary GH in children, it is a healthy respect for the law of unintended consequences.

Open Letter to David Satcher of CDC

August 15, 1997

Dr. David Satcher, Director
Center for Disease Control & Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Mail Stop D14
Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Re:  Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Reporting Practices

Dear Sir:
I am writing to express my concerns regarding procedures directly involving CJD. I understand that reporting of nationally notifiable diseases to CDC is mandated at a state level; however, internationally quarantinable diseases are reported by all states or regions. After reviewing the following, it is my hope that you will reclassify CJD in an attempt to obtain a more accurate analysis of the CJD instance in the US.

Credibility of Nationwide Statistics Inaccurate

CJD is present in the United States; however, the public and medical knowledge of the disease are limited. By mandating the reporting of CJD the medical profession would be more aware of the clinical and pathological symptoms thereby eliminating a vast majority of misdiagnosis. Recent studies have shown that approximately 13% of Alzheimer’s cases were actually CJD.

The addition of the 13% discredits the suspected annual occurrence of CJD. In addition, I am personally aware of 2 cases (possibly 3) diagnosed as CJD and confirmed by autopsy, both of which lived in a rural town of less than 3,000 population. Neither of these individuals were related distantly or by marriage. At one time, both individuals lived within one block of one another. The deaths were within a time span of 10 years and both had CJD listed as the cause of death. Put into numbers against the 1 per million occurrence figures would present the following: one per million per year for 10 years gives one per hundred thousand so 1/30 of a case in 10 years in a town of 3,000. Therefore, it would take 90 towns of this size to exhibit 3 cases.

How can the government can continue to maintain the occurrence of CJD is only 1 per million when this disease is not reported to the CDC? Had these and other cases been reported, the occurrence figures would have changed from year to year. The existence of the four established Emerging Infections Programs (Minnesota; Oregon; Connecticut; and San Francisco Bay area, California) would not have seized these cases in their study, how many others did they miss?

Factors in Emergence have been met

In the article Factors in the Emergence of Infectious Diseases written by yourself, you maintain a two-step process in viewing emerging infectious diseases. The first step being an “introduction of the agent into a new host population (whether the pathogen originated in the environment, possibly in another species, or as a variant of an existing human infection)”. The second step: “establishment and further dissemination within the new host population. Whatever its origin, the infection emerges when it reaches a new population. Factors that promote one or both of these steps will, therefore, tend to precipitate disease emergence.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE’s) are being discovered in alternate species on a daily basis, dogs, cats, squirrels, mink, salmon, mule deer and elk, to name a few. The biological controversy regarding the theories the transmissibility of CJD combined with the recent confirmation of the link between BSE and nvCJD is convincing enough to implement a nationwide reporting procedure. Constant new discoveries of TSE’s in the human food chain validate a potentially rich source for an emerging epidemic.

Blood confirmed as a mode of transmission

In addition to the zoonotic pool introduction risks, studies have now confirmed blood to be evident as a mode of transmission, as stated in the April-June 1997 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 3, Number 2, Article: Is Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Transmitted in Blood? Before his death from CJD, my father donated enough blood to the Red Cross to receive a gallon pin. I notified the Red Cross after my father died and never received a response after they referred it to their headquarters.

Premortem testing is now available for CJD with at least a 95% accuracy. This should enable the medical community to further develop testing for donations. On a larger scale, what could become of organ donations. Many Americans are in desperate need of donations and assume the government has measures insuring the safety of these organs. There is always a risk potential involved in medical procedures, however, in the case of CJD tainted donations, this could be eliminated by testing.

The Hospital Infections Program section Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and Decontamination maintained by the NCID subdivision of the CDC incorrectly states: Although there is no evidence of CJD transmission via body substances (e.g., blood, urine, bronchial fluid, GI secretions). If a hospital was introduced to a case of CJD and looked up precautions under the CDC, risk of transmission has not been accurately outlined.

Justifiable Precautions Show a Need For Change in Reporting Practices

In the CDC’s Appendix A, Type and Duration of Precautions Needed for Selected Infections and Conditions, CJD is listed to take Standard Precautions along with a footnote Additional special precautions are necessary for handling and decontamination of blood, body fluids and tissues, and contaminated items from patients with confirmed or suspected disease. See latest College of American Pathologists (Northfield, Illinois) guidelines or other references.

No other infection or disease referenced this footnote, including Hepatitis A (except diapered or incontinent patients), B, C and E; Legionnaires’ disease; Leprosy; Bubonic Plague; or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, those only called for standard precautions. How can CJD be justifiably denied nationwide surveillance but require more precautions than diseases that are currently under the mandatory reporting procedures?

Unknown origin and transmission warrant scrutiny by the CDC

Given the unknown origins of the agent causing CJD and the controversy in the biomedical research community one would question why this disease is not more closely monitored. The prion theory has outlasted all theories to date, however, the fact that confirmation of BSE being caused by scrapie should be an alert to the CDC. One would question, If scrapie is the cause of BSE, why could it not also be the cause of CJD? This theory has not been proven groundless. Since the transmission and origin of CJD are both unknown, further scrutiny by the CDC is of utmost importance.

Necessity of Education

My father passed away in May 1996 from CJD. During his illness in the hospital he was treated by numerous doctors, none of which informed the family of precautions that should have been taken. Disposable utensils were ordered by his physician but were never used. If oral transmission were to be proven, how many individuals have been exposed by just one case, since washing a fork in an industrial dishwasher would not destroy the agent?

Once an autopsy had been performed, the unused tissue blocks were destroyed rather than sent to a research center such as NIH. How much further research could have been done with more active tissue samples? The pathologist was not aware NIH had requested samples from CJD cases. The public and medical ignorance regarding this disease are not only overwhelming but frightening as well. Nationwide surveillance of this disease would assist in educating the population, prevention of misdiagnosis, and inevitable increased funding for this disease.

Please take this into consideration and restructure the reporting requirements for CJD. By reclassifying CJD as an internationally quarantinable disease the CDC and the public would receive accurate information rather than erroneous estimates. A reply to this along with any recommendations you might have would be appreciated.

Respectfully submitted,
Liz Armstrong

American Red Cross response to CJD blood donor

17 Aug 1997
Dear American Red Cross:

It has recently come to my attention that the Canadian Red Cross might be recalling blood due to suspect cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. While research has not concluded that this is a definate transmission threat the lack of knowledge where this disease is concerned is a threat.

My father, Charles O. Butcher, died May 6, 1996 from this disease. He lived in Union, West Virginia, Monroe County and also worked as an EMT for the local EMS. It is my understanding that he donated blood frequently and had earned some type of pin. I apologize for my ignorance regarding blood donation awards, I am border-line anemic and therefore have no experience in this activity. If my father did indeed donate blood regardless of the amount, I feel you should be alerted in order to make any decisions necessary regarding his blood donations.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Liz Armstrong

Response from American Red Cross

Subj:	Re: Butcher, Charles -Reply
Date:	97-04-10 16:39:57 EDT
From:	INFO@USA.REDCROSS.ORG ()
To:	LArmstr853@aol.com
We have directed your inquiry to our Johnstown, Pa, office. You will probably hear from the public relations director Marianne Stompinato directly in regard to this.

Making CJD a 'Rportable' disease in the US

Dr. David Satcher, Director
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Mail Stop D14
Atlanta, Georgia 30333

RE:  Statistics and CJD  								August 16, 1997

Dear Dr. Satcher:
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are approximately 230 deaths per year due to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. I would like to know where the CJD gets its figures as I live in New York City and there is no cause of death listed on death certificates, not even a code.

I am enclosing an excerpt from a study by Manuelidis, Elias E. and Laura Manuelidis concerning Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders. I was, at first, working under the assumption that 1% of Alzheimer patients are misdiagnosed which would increase the CDC's calculations, however, at 13% this would put CJD deaths equal to if not more than AIDS deaths per year.

What I would like the CDC to do is to mandate that CJD become a "reportable" disease NATIONALLY, NOT JUST IN A FEW SELECTED STATES. Secondly, I would like more research funds allotted to CJD research. The $7,127,000 proposed in 1997 to the NIH is not sufficient. Thirdly, I would suggest Alzheimer Associations and pathologists be advised, when performing autopsies on cadavers who were diagnosed as having Alzheimers, of the possible contamination from this infective disease.

I am contacting Alzheimers associations in order to obtain statistical information. If you would like more information, please contact me and I would be glad to assist.

Thank you in advance and I am looking forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
Patricia Ewanitz

Most BSE cases in Europe 'are not reported'

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor  Electronic Telegraph, Aug. 23, 1997
CONTINENTAL European Union countries have reported only one in six cases of mad cow disease, according to an official veterinary survey published today. The report calculates that of the 55,400 British cattle exported to other EU countries for breeding purposes between 1985 and 1989, at least 1,642 would have contracted BSE after export. However, only 285 cases were reported.

In Germany - where the campaign against buying British beef has been strongest - the number of BSE cases reported since March last year was 48 times less than expected. The figures are published today in The Veterinary Record, official journal of the British Veterinary Association. They confirm fears of scientists, vets and farmers that chronic under-reporting has put animal and human health at risk due to lax controls and delayed efforts to wipe out BSE.

They also vindicate the tough stance taken by Dr Jack Cunningham, Minister of Agriculture, who threatened to disrupt imports of beef from other EU countries which do not follow the strict anti-BSE controls which are already in place in the UK.

From next January, all beef entering the UK must have been processed in plants where specified offals are removed and destroyed in line with strict controls applied in British abattoirs. Scientists fear that meat and bone meal from unreported infected cattle on the Continent has been re-circulated and used in animal food where it will cause new cases of BSE - many of which will again go unreported.

The report was drawn up by three of Europe's most respected experts on animal disease - John Wilesmith, head of epidemiology at the Government's Central Veterinary Laboratory, Dr Bram Schreuder of Holland's Institute of Animal Science and Health and Professor O C Straub of the Germany's Federal Research Centre for Virus Deases of Animals.

Their figures were based on the number of cattle exported to EU and other countries for breeding purposes rather than slaughter and the number which would have been expected to succumb to BSE if they had remained in the UK. This, in turn, was based on the percentage of beef and dairy cattle which fell ill in this country.

More than 55,400 cattle went to other EU countries between 1985 and 1989 when exports were halted under the UK controls to halt the spread of the disease.

Denmark imported 889 animals in that period. Of these, according to the report, 29 would have been expected to fall victim to BSE if they had remained in the UK. But only one BSE case had been reported by January this year.

So far about 168,531 cattle have died from BSE in the UK since 1988. But by January this year only 515 other cases had been reported from other parts of the world, including the EU, despite exports of cattle from the UK between 1985 - when BSE was taking hold here - and 1989.

Switzerland, which has carried out a sweeping slaughter and destroy policy, suffered 228 cases blamed mainly on imported rations containing the rendered remains of contaminated cattle.

The Swiss authorities have long maintained that the number of cases elsewhere in Europe should be much higher. By January, the Republic of Ireland had reported 188 cases - but the number expected was 911. Germany reported five - the expected number was 243. Of the others:

France reported 28 - expected number 32;
Spain reported none (54);
Italy reported two (50);
Portugal reported 61 (262);
Denmark reported one (29);
Holland reported none (44);
Belgium and Luxembourg reported none (17).
The research team reported difficulties in gathering accurate statistics from various countries. Professor Karl Linklater, president of the British Veterinary Association, said: "This report quantifies more accurately what we have believed all along.

"It is important that we get uniform preactions in place throughout the EU, including the removal and disposal of specified offals from, cattle. The Ministry of Agriculture is taking the same position."

Ben Gill, Deputy president of the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales, said: "This report vindicates the position taken by the NFU and the Government. It also vindicates the action of Franz Fischler, EU Farm Commissioner, to secure tight controls throughout the EU. We have made the point all along that BSE is not just a British problem."

Most BSE cases in Europe/US/Canada/elsewhere are not reported?

24 Aug 97 Listserve
I haven't seen the Veterinary Record article and don't know what figures if any they came up with for Canada, the US, and other importing countries (Oman etc. reported BSE) My impression is the article just goes back to the first clinical case of BSE in 1985 and stops with the nominal halt of exports in 1989. In view of victim #22, they may want to look at exports of live animals back to 1980 or earlier.

Canada reported one case of BSE; I don't know how many they imported over 1980-1989. It looks like the numbers are running at about 3% on the 55,400 exported to Europe; using this %, Canadian imports would need to be around 33 total to give 1 case. To fit the European average pattern of only reporting 1 in 6, Canada would have had 6 cases in 198 imported. I recall that the one positive Canadian animal was incinerated and some strong measure was taken with the whole herd.

The US reports importing 499 animals in this era in my memory of this but I'm not sure if 1980-1985 was included, I think not. 3% of 499 gives 15 animals with 0 being reported, so maybe double that for 1980-1989. To fit the European average pattern of only reporting 1 in 6, the US would have reported 2-3. This could be compared with 100 animals per year hypothetically resulting from 1 in a million de novo mutation in the bovine prion gene (Gibbs Principle) in 100 million cows. I don't know if pigs from the UK were imported to the US.

A lot of effort and expense went into buying up and destroying these imported animals with a good, but I don't think perfect, final scorecard. If there were additional imported but untracked animals from 1980-1985, they might have been outside the monitoring program and so ended up in part in the rendering stream. To my knowledge there has never been immuno-pathology nor pathology audits on the 499 animals conducted by an independent outside agency such as NIH or CDC. On the other hand, no one has provided any evidence that USDA procedures were flawed nor that any of the 499 imports had TSE nor that they were representative of the British herd in the same sense that European imports were.

What would the country list in the article below look like after being "touched up" to bring in some of the non-trade war countries that also imported cattle during this era? There may or may not be good reasons why various importing countries would not follow the pattern seen in Europe so this is a very rough start:

   
Oman 1 (?)
Canada 1 (?)
United States 0 (15?)
Germany 5 (243)
Ireland 188 (911)
France reported 28 - expected number 32;
Spain reported 0 (54);
Italy reported 2 (50);
Portugal reported 61 (262);
Denmark reported 2 (29);
Holland reported 0 (44);
Belgium and Luxembourg reported 0 (17).

Belgian wholesaler sents our 44 tons of mystery meat

Reuter 27 Aug 97
BRUSSELS -- A Belgian meat company has, according to this story, been closed on suspicion of fraud with beef imported illegally from Britain, the fourth such closure in recent months. Health Minister Marcel Colla was quoted as telling Belgian BRTN radio that, "What apparently happened is that a Dutch company or a Dutchman is involved, that a Belgian company is involved in exporting British meat to eastern European countries." The European Commission said in July it had traced 1,600 tonnes of British beef illegally exported to the Netherlands, Egypt and Russia, either via Belgium or using Belgian certificates of origin.

USDA on food safety

"Most folks would be shocked to know that industry, and not federal food safety experts, ultimately make the decision as to whether or not food is recalled when the public's safety is compromised," Glickman said.
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