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Victim #23: the parents' story
Vegetarian is latest victim of nvCJD
New health fears ignited
Germans eat 600 tons of smuggled BSE sausage
Big US hamburger recall prompts shortages
Americans should avoid pink burgers
Rise in badger is tuberculosis threat to cattle

Fitness fanatic is latest victim of CJD strain

Charles Arthur, Science Editor The independent 29 Aug 97
The toll of cases of the fatal new variant of Creutzfelt-Jakob Disease, v-CJD, thought to be caused by exposure to "mad cow disease", is rising inexorably.

Yesterday a 36-year-old fitness fanatic living in Ripley, Derbyshire, was revealed as the 26th known British case, leaving his parents distraught at the sight of their son slowly dying before their eyes.

Chris Warne, a computer systems analyst, was officially diagnosed as having v-CJD three weeks ago after first showing signs of illness at the end of last year. Formerly a keen footballer, cricketer and skier, he now needs round-the-clock care at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre, where doctors say he has less than a year to live.

"I saw him at the hospital. He was standing and then his legs went from under him," his father Terry, 65, said last night. "It was like that clip they show on TV of the cow with BSE."

Bovine spongiform encepalopathy (BSE) was first recognised in April 1985, though scientists have calculated that 30,000 BSE-infected animals may have been used for food in the five previous years. Between 1985 and 1989 - after the discovery - almost half a million BSE-infected cattle were used for food, according to Professor Roy Anderson of Oxford University.

The rapid rise in v-CJD cases echoes that of BSE, which rose from a few hundred cases a year, to thousands. More than 163,000 BSE cases have been confirmed since 1985, but CJD typically takes more than 10 years to show up. In 1994 there were three v-CJD deaths. In 1995 there were 10. So far this year 13 people have been confirmed with the incurable illness.

Mr Warne's symptoms began nine months ago when he became tired and withdrawn and received treatment for stress. Within six months he had been forced to give up his job and was admitted to Derbyshire Royal Infirmary for tests, after which his parents were told their son had CJD. Yesterday they decided to make their son's condition public to raise awareness of the disease.

His mother Shirley, 60, said: "We knew about CJD but like everyone else we thought it would never happen to us. When Chris was in hospital I prepared myself for the worst but never dreamt he would have something like this. We were numb.

"We just can't help him and there's nothing anybody else can do. You do find yourself wringing your hands and feeling completely helpless. But by going public this is our way of helping and hope this will put pressure on the authorities to undertake more research."

Terry Warne said that "Chris was a healthy eater because he had his sports at the back of his mind. Now he doesn't even know where he is or why, and he has never even asked what is wrong with him."

Vegetarian is latest victim of nvCJD

August 22 1997
Michael Hornsby, Times Agriculture correspondent
A YOUNG woman who has been vegetarian for the past 12 years has the new strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which scientists have linked to "mad cow" disease. The case is highly unusual because the first clinical case of BSE was recorded in cattle only in 1986 -- a year after Clare Tomkins, now aged 24, stopped eating meat. [However, many cows were already sick but asymptomatic --webmaster]

Her father, Roger Tomkins, said last night that he was told of the diagnosis a a week and a half ago by Professor John Collinge, professor of neuro-genetics at Imperial College, London, and at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, where he heads a specialist unit investigating CJD.

Mr Tomkins said: "My daughter is still alive, but Professor Collinge told me there was no doubt about the diagnosis, which was done by a biopsy of the tonsils. There seems little doubt that she must have caught CJD from mechanically recovered meat eaten before 1985.

"When we told doctors she had been a vegetarian since 1985 there were a few raised eyebrows. They were very very surprised.

"Clare was a very strict vegetarian, though she did eat cheese and drink milk. She would not even eat biscuits if the packet showed that they contained gelatine or animal fat, for example. We used to joke that she was a bit of a pain about it."

Professor Collinge was abroad and not available for comment last night, but Robert Will, head of the CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh, said that it was not impossible that people could have been exposed to BSE in meat products before 1985.
"Although the first clinical case of BSE in cattle was not diagnosed until 1986, cattle incubating the disease could have been entering the food chain before then," he said.
Another possibility was that Miss Tomkins might unwittingly have eaten food that contained animal fat or mechanically recovered meat derived from cattle spinal cord or brain. "We simply do not know all the kinds of food such material might have gone into," Dr Will said.

An even more intriguing possibility suggested by the case is that the new strain of CJD might not, after all, have been caused by BSE, but Dr Will said he did not think that likely. Most scientists agree that circumstantial evidence of a link is very strong.

Mr Tomkins said that Clare, who worked in the pet department of a garden centre near her home in Tonbridge, Kent, and was engaged to be married, first showed symptoms of the disease early last year.

"She was a healthy seven stone and then we noticed she began losing weight," Mr Tomkins said. "Clare looked as though she was becoming depressed. She cried all the time and we realised she had lost a stone [14 pounds] in weight.

"She was diagnosed as suffering from depression and was on anti-depressants for ten weeks, but they made no difference. Clare was then given electro-convulsive therapy at a pyschiatric clinic and her weight dropped to little over five stone."

Brain specialists at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells first suspected that Miss Tomkins had CJD earlier this year. She is now in an advanced stage of the disease and needs 24-hour home nursing.

There have been only 21 other confirmed cases of the new strain of CJD but in an interview with The Times earlier this month, Dr Collinge warned that the risk of an epidemic involving many thousands could not yet be ruled out.

"It [the epidemic] may only involve hundreds, but it could be Europe-wide and become a disaster of biblical proportions," he said. "We have to face the possibility of a disaster with tens of thousands of cases."

Symptoms of the disease later identified as BSE were first noticed in a cow on a dairy farm at High Halden in Kent in 1985 and at least two other human victims of the new-type of CJD are known to have been resident in the county at the time of their death.

There have been several cases of CJD in Kent over the past seven years, but of the older strain of the disease not linked to BSE. "There has been much speculation about geographical clusters of CJD cases, but we have not found any clear evidence that this is happening," Dr Will said.

Since 1986 some 170,000 cattle have been destroyed after showing symptoms of BSE. The disease reached a peak in 1992, with more than 35,000 cattle deaths, but is now in sharp decline and is expected to die out within a few years.

New health fears ignited

August 22, 1997  Reuters
LONDON A British vegetarian who has shunned meat for 11 years has ignited new health fears by contracting the human form of mad cow disease. Clare Tomkins, 24, was diagnosed last week as being in an advanced state of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) after a year-long mystery illness that her family had put down to psychiatric problems. Her case was revealed in Friday's newspapers and relatives said they hoped the wave of publicty would alert other potential sufferers.
"If my daughter has contracted this disease through eating meat 11 years ago, it does have all sorts of implications," her father Roger told BBC radio. "Certainly more educated people than me on the subject have stated that there could be thousands of people who could be carrying the disease that we are not aware of."
Tomkins became a strict vegetarian in 1985 -- a year before the first cases of mad cow disease were detected in cattle. Despite following a strict vegetarian diet for almost half her life, she must now be nursed around the clock and only receives food through a tube. Nobody knows the incubation period for CJD but her case could mean it is longer than previously believed. Her father described CJD as "a time-bomb" waiting to go off and said nobody yet knew its full extent. "The last thing I wnt to do is to scare-monger on the subject. What we want to do is to avoid other people perhaps going through what we've gone through," he said.

Professor John Pattison, who heads the government's advisory committee on BSE, said Tomkins could well have caught CJD before BSE was identified in cows in 1986.

"The first infections in cows must have been occurring from probably 1981 to 1983," he said. "If this young lady stopped eating meat in 1985, we are just within the margins when she might or might not have been exposed because of her meat-eating."
Alternatively, Tomkins might have unknowingly eaten beef by-products such as gelatin in dishes labelled vegetarian. Either way, the potential scope of CJD remains a mystery and some medics say it will not become clear until next century. CJD expert Dr. Richard Lacey told the Daily Mail that if the incubation period was as long as 11 years, the government would "have to re-think its position on the numbers who are going to contract this disease." Last year, the British government admitted for the first time that BSE can be transmitted to humans in the form of CJD, sparking huge health fears and fierce intra-European wrangling about British beef exports.

Germany steps up search for suspected British beef

 August 22, 1997   Reuter Information Service 
FRANKFURT (10:22 a.m. EDT) - German authorities stepped up their search Friday for meat products suspected of containing contaminated British beef, exported despite a ban imposed over concern about mad cow disease. Authorities said several tons of sausages and corned beef products, made from part of about 600 tons of meat illegally imported from Britain, had already been consumed. Officials urged consumers to remain calm as investigators tried to determine the origins of the beef.
"I think you can assume that there is no more of this meat around," said Klaus Rueckel, a state official in Hesse in charge of food quality control.
Health authorities in Frankfurt said they believed thousands of sausages containing British beef had been consumed in Frankfurt restaurants in June and July. Authorities said it was still unclear whether the meat, some of which was first transported to eastern Europe, actually came from Britain and that the investigation was difficult since the meat had been delivered between February and July. Many of the transactions for the meat products were also done in cash and without receipts, making it difficult to determine where the meat ended up, Rueckel said.

In the central state of Lower Saxony, authorities on Friday searched supermarkets for containers of corned beef products that were produced in July and may contain British beef. Authorities said they believed that nearly 11,000 of the corned beef containers had already been sold. About 2,500 of the containers, made by a food manufacturer near Bremen, had been secured for testing.

The nationwide search was launched after Hamburg customs officials last week impounded 60 tonnes of beef carrying a British export stamp, required in accordance with an EU ban on British beef imposed last year. The ban followed Britain's admission of a possible link between the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) brainwasting disease found in some cattle and a related illness in humans.

German investigators say a further 440 tons of suspected British beef have gone to eastern Europe while just over 100 tonnes is thought to have been passed to German distributors. Food protection authorities raided the buildings of a Frankfurt meat dealer that had been supplied over the last two months with sausages processed out of recent consignments of beef believed to have come from Britain.

No traces of the suspected beef were found at the buildings of the company, which is now in bankruptcy proceedings. The company said the meat had a European Union stamp and it had believed it came from Ireland, which is not affected by the export ban. Authorities in the neighbouring state of North Rhine-Westphalia also said 10 tonnes of suspect beef in the form of sausages had been sold on to a local wholesaler who distributed meat throughout the country.

In Dresden, authorities said they had found 67 tons of beef believed to have come from Britain illegally through an importer in Hamburg. The meat was turned into preserves between April and June but none of the products were sold in Germany. Officials said they believed the company had bought the meat in good faith, believing it was not from Britain.

Big hamburger recall prompts shortages

August 22, 1997  The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Neb. -- Some burger fans couldn't have it their way Friday. Burger King said hundreds of restaurants were affected after Hudson Foods announced they were shutting a plant and recalling 25 million pounds of possibly tainted beef. The actions also left some Boston Market restaurants without meatloaf. Hudson Foods called for the actions Thursday in an agreement with the Agriculture Department, which said more stringent safety standards were needed there even though the beef was contaminated elsewhere. The impact of the massive recall was felt immediately.

Burger King said 1,650 restaurants were initially affected, a quarter of its more than 6,000 restaurants, and 700 still were without hamburger Friday. The others got rush deliveries from other suppliers. At a Burger King in Des Moines, Iowa, a sign on the drive-through menu said: "Sorry, only thing available today is chicken, fish, pork products and fries." In Omaha, Burger King managers planned to serve ham and cheese and bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches for lunch. "I guess it's a case of it's better to be safe than sorry," Terri Spahn, a customer at a Burger King in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said late Thursday. Burger King said the affected restaurants were in 28 states, essentially everything but the East and West Coasts, Alaska and Hawaii.

Other major customers of the plant include Safeway, Wal-Mart and Boston Market, officials said.

The recall began after health officials traced the illnesses of more than a dozen people in Colorado to hamburger patties they ate in early June. E. coli bacteria contamination originated at a slaughterhouse -- outside the plant -- but the recall is needed because of problems with meat handling, record keeping and safety testing, Agriculture Department officials said. The plant will not open until the company has adopted "far more stringent safety standards," Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said.

The recall, which officials called the USDA's largest, covers all patties made by the plant that are still believed to be in the marketplace. Recalls were announced last week, first with 20,000 pounds of meat, then another 20,000, and on Friday it became 1.2 million pounds. Twenty-five million pounds of beef translates into 100 million quarter-pound hamburgers.

Glickman said officials discovered the plant had a practice of using leftover raw meat from one day in the next day's production. That makes it difficult to know when the last of the tainted meat left the plant.

Officials are looking at the seven slaughterhouses that were known to have supplied the plant, said Tom Billy, administrator of the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service. "I'll tell you what -- this plant is clean," said Jarod Krueger, a Hudson security worker. "It's just depressing they have to send all these people home."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which investigated the E. coli outbreak associated with the patties in Colorado, said Thursday that 15 people became ill between June 14 and July 14. Five of them were hospitalized. Eleven said they had eaten frozen patties, and eight specifically remembered eating Hudson Foods patties, the CDC said. E. coli is a potentially deadly bacteria that often gets into food through contact with fecal matter. It causes severe diarrhea, cramps and dehydration and was blamed for three deaths and hundreds of illnesses in Washington state in 1993, mainly because of undercooked burgers. Thorough cooking kills the bacteria, and officials stressed consumers thoroughly cook hamburger, using a meat thermometer to make sure it is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

The CDC said the Hudson patties may have been distributed to every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Customers at a grocery store just down the road from the plant said the recall will not change their eating habits. Tom Penington said he ate some Hudson beef a couple weeks ago. "If you cook it, it's not going to hurt you anyway," he said.

Rise in badger numbers a tuberculosis threat to cattle

August 21 1997 By Michael Hornsby   Agriculture   Correspondent 
FARMERS clashed with conservationists yesterday over a report showing a huge rise in the badger population over the past ten years. The finding has coincided with increased outbreaks of tuberculosis in cattle. Wildlife campaigners hailed the rise in badger numbers as a victory for laws protecting the animals against persecution, but farmers said badgers were now out of control and should be culled in TB-infected areas.
Sir David Naish, the union's president, said: "In areas such as the South West, West Midlands and Wales, all the evidence points to diseased badgers infecting cattle with TB and causing farmers severe difficulties." He added: "There is an urgent need for appropriate licences to be issued for the management of badgers where they are so abundant that they are leading to significant damage."
But Stephen Harris, of Bristol University's environmental sciences department, who wrote the report for the People's Trust for Endangered Species, said there was no proven link between the presence of badgers and TB in cattle.
"I do not think they need to be controlled," he said. "We are slowly starting to see the recovery of the badger from previous persecution and a return to the sort of species diversity generally that we should have. Badgers can give TB to cattle, but no one knows how. Killing badgers in huge numbers in the past has not been an effective way of eliminating the disease in cattle."
The report estimates that the total number of badgers has risen by 77 per cent, from 250,000 to more than 440,000, since 1988 when the last comparable survey was done, also by Professor Harris. Last year 471 new outbreaks of TB were reported, two thirds of them in the South and West of England. Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture next month are expected to show a sharp rise this year.

Experts say Americans should avoid pink burgers

August 20, 1997 Reuter Information Service WASHINGTON Americans are ignoring the health message that eating pink hamburger is not just a matter of taste but can also be deadly, food safety experts said Wednesday. And consumers who assume that a burger brown in the middle is safe may be playing Russian roulette with their dinner.
"We have a critical public health issue," Fred Angulo,
medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), said. "A high proportion of the U.S.
population is preferring to eat hamburgers
under-cooked."
Food safety experts say ground beef must be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill disease-causing bacteria like E.coli O157:H7, which made 16 people sick in Colorado in July. The outbreak led to a record recall of 5 million hamburger patties made by Hudson Foods Inc. last week. U.S. Agriculture Department investigators are trying to trace if the meat was infected at Hudson's meat-packing plant or at the slaughter house.

A safely cooked burger will appear brown inside, but food experts insist that the only accurate way to tell if the meat is done is with a thermometer.

A new study by Kansas State University has shown that some ground beef turns prematurely brown before hitting the safe cooking temperature. Concern about that research prompted the USDA in June to issue a special food safety warning urging backyard barbecue chefs to use a thermometer.

The government plans to do its own study by the end of the year and may change its recommendations for safe cooking, officials said. USDA held a meeting Wednesday to sound out food and medical experts, consumer advocates and meat industry representatives for advice on how to conduct the USDA study. Angulo told the group that a recent survey showed that 25 percent of Americans preferred hamburgers that were pink in the middle. According to the poll by the Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), a sophisticated government computer system, 54 percent of Americans had cooked hamburgers in the five days prior and 6 percent had eaten them rare.

"Most of the E.coli O157:H7 infections we have seen could have been prevented by fully cooking hamburgers," Angulo said.
Since its discovery in 1982, E.coli O157:H7 -- a virulent strain of the bacteria -- has been blamed for thousands of illnesses and dozens of deaths each year around the globe. It causes bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in some, life-threatening kidney failure.

The CDC estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 Americans become infected with E.coli each year and 10 to 20 percent of those cases are linked to hamburger. Department officials acknowledged Wednesday it would be difficult to persuade Americans to add a thermometer to their kitchen and barbecue gear.

"We're using video camera recorders, we're using seat belts," Kaye Wachsmuth, a top official at USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said. Using a thermometer in American kitchens, she suggested, needed to become as commonplace.
The biggest battle, experts said, will be overcoming the American predilection for pink meat. It is safe to eat steak rare because the meat is seared, killing off disease-causing bacteria that lurk on the surface of beef, experts said. But since different cuts of beef are ground and mixed together to make hamburger, the meat is not completely safe unless it is cooked through.

August 23 1997 EUROPEÝ Ý Sausages vanish from shelves in German alert over British beef FROM ROGER BOYES IN BONN A NEW British meat scare swept through Germany yesterday as Hamburg police investigated the origins of hundreds of tonnes of smuggled and perhaps infected beef. Labskaus, the north German speciality which mixes beef, herring, onions, potatoes and fried egg, was removed from shop shelves, and throughout the country sausage meat was being checked by inspectors. The trigger for the latest scandal was the arrest of a Hamburg dealer who had imported 616 tonnes of beef. The authorities claim the meat came from Britain, in defiance of Germany's comprehensive import ban, but the businessman says the meat came from Ireland. The shipment, which police forces say may point to an international web dealing in British beef suspected of being infected with "mad cow" disease, has put other regions of Germany on the alert. In Hesse, 400 kg of suspected British beef sausages have slipped into the shops and the local authorities say the meat has probably been eaten. Some illegally imported meat appears to have been sold to Turkish shops in Frankfurt, and some has found its way to Bavaria, where G¸nter Dickhaut, president of the Meat Federation, yesterday called for tightening of customs controls. It is still not clear whether all the meat being discovered derives from the Hamburg shipment. Certainly when police broke into a refrigerated store last week they found only 60 tonnes of the original 616 tonnes. Confiscated documents show that a large amount found its way from Hamburg to Dresden and then to Uzbekistan. More than 100 tonnes has also apparently been shipped to Eastern Europe. The suspicion of the customs officers was aroused by the unusually low prices: to ferry meat across Western Europe to Uzbekistan and still make a profit suggests the purchase price was low. That in turn has prompted investigators to believe that the meat may have come from BSE-suspected herds. The assumption is that 120 tonnes of the meat stayed in Germany. Some of it, like that in the labskaus, was tinned and there is still time to warn consumers. But the meat that was sold for grilling or frying has been eaten. The press was outraged yesterday. "Many feared it, nobody knew, now it's certain," said the Hamburg Abendblatt. "Illegally smuggled beef from BSE-nation Britain is being processed and eaten here by the tonnes-load."

A vegetarian has contracted the 'new' CJD ‚ but Simon Barnes won't change his principles August 23 1997 A meatless diet isn't healthy ‚ just wise What, then, is the point of being a vegetarian? The sad tale of Clare Tomkins, the vegetarian who has contracted BSE, or "mad cow" disease, has naturally attracted a good deal of attention; a strange and frightening story of a strange and frightening disease. Ms Tomkins has been a vegetarian for 12 years. Has she been wasting her time? Is vegetarianism now a proven fallacy? Does the tale of poor Ms Tomkins mean that vegetarianism has exploded? Perhaps it does, but to tell the truth, I don't give a damn one way or the other. I have been a vegetarian since 1976, and I will carry on being one. I will carry on even if scientists prove conclusively that vegetarianism is frightfully bad for you. And if they add that beef is the only truly healthy food known to mankind, I still won't eat it. I suspect that Ms Tomkins would hold the same view. She has always been, like most vegetarians, an assiduous reader of labels, never one to let her guard slip and have some biscuit-maker slip a scruple of animal fat into her elevenses. Mad extremism, said the non-veggie. But it is just an aspect of taking a logical, ethical position, that is all. Do you do it for your health? I have been asked that question times without number? It is a question I find not so much irrelevant as mystifying. What has my health to do with the matter? There are plenty of vegetarian convenience foods, and I eat them when it is convenient to do so. Perhaps they are better for you than foot-long Coney Island hot dogs. Perhaps they are worse. It is a matter of indifference to me. Are you just terribly squeamish, then? Again, a question that has nothing to do with the case. In fact, I am not like the sensitive Monty in the film Withnail and I ‚ "as a boy, I used to weep in butcher's shops". In my carnivorous days I loved to eat the inner organs of beasts. My steaks were warm rather than cooked, cold blood pudding was a favourite lunch, and my treat of treats was sweetbreads. These days I prefer to slay the fatted aubergine. I could not find it in my heart to kill a cow, butcher it and eat it ‚ rather like Alice on being introduced to the pudding ‚ therefore it is logical that I don't get somebody else to do it and then pretend it didn't happen. I have more respect ‚ at least for the logic ‚ of the shooting man who will kill, skin, clean and cook his own rabbit than for the squeamish hamburger eater who can't bear the thought of tripe and onions. Is it just because you like animals? This is a question that tends to get asked rather eagerly, for to say "yes, I do" is at once to label oneself a sentimentalist, an anthropomorphiser, a person who has abandoned logic for the cuddliness of the bunny-wunnies. If the person is male, he is a wimp, unworthy of his sex. His moral stance can, therefore, be rejected out of hand. I do like animals, as it happens, but I travel to all kinds of wild places to be among them. Wimp that I am, I have walked unarmed into an angry lion, on another occasion a charging elephant. I keep animals, too. A pair of non-vegetarian cats and two horses. I have no objection to administering the occasional whack to a horse that seems to need it, either. I love being with my beasts, but they have nothing to do with my vegetarianism. Peter Singer, the ethical philosopher, wrote the ground-breaking Animal Liberation ‚ a discredited phrase since it has been adopted as an extremist slogan. But Singer's notion of the expanding circles of concern ‚ humankind moving progressively beyond family, beyond tribe, beyond nation, beyond race and now beyond species ‚ anchors a vegetarian's stance to the solidity of rational argument. And Singer himself insists that he is no pussy and dog-eat-dog man himself. He does not want pets cluttering the place up. We can dispose of the canard that vegetarians care more about animals than people. Meanwhile, some of the soppiest, animal-daft people you could meet live off meat pies. The entire issue of sentimentality is just another red herring. You do not have to be sentimental to find cruelty disturbing. The cruelties of modern animal husbandry do not bear thinking about ‚ so people normally don't think about them. The thought of the de-beaking machine would rather take the edge off coq au vin. Does an animal have rights? Well, I don't think a dog has a right to vote, nor a horse to send its foal to a decent school. But a domestic animal has, I think, a right to a decent life. A chicken has a right to a beak and the use of its legs ‚ a right denied in battery farming. People think that everything to do with vegetarianism is to do with sentiment ‚ with the abnegation of reason. The very opposite is true. Let us go back to the Age of Reason itself and to Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian philosopher. People suggest, he said, that we have the right to do as we please with an animal ‚ beat it, kill it, eat it ‚ because it is less intelligent than a man. But a horse, he said, is far more conversant and intelligent than an idiot child, and we would not beat an idiot child. No, he said, the right question is not: can they think, but: can they suffer? Nathanson, Wilesmith et al. reports suspected cases of BSE from N Yorkshire, Kent, W Sussex, Hampshire, Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Dyfed in 1985. Source: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy BSE): "Causes and Consequences of a Common Source Epidemic", American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 145, No 11, June 1, 1997

MIME-Version: 1.0 X-Sender: 0241932072-0001@t-online.de (Roland Heynkes) Approved-By: Roland Heynkes Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 14:36:05 +0200 Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Sender: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy From: Roland Heynkes Subject: Re: New nvCJD victim - Vegetarian To: "Dr. Thomas Pringle" Dear Hans, > A YOUNG woman who has been vegetarian for the past 12 years has the > new strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which scientists have linked > to "mad cow" disease. This is really bad news because it demonstrates, that even very careful >consumers seem to have been without any chance to avoid a lethal BSE infection. > The case is highly unusual because the first clinical case of BSE was > recorded in cattle only in 1986 - a year after Clare Tomkins, now aged > 24, stopped eating meat. The first cases have been observed by a field veterinarian in 1985. Therefore there must have been infective cattle many years before. > "When we told doctors she had been a vegetarian since 1985 there were a > few raised eyebrows. They were very very surprised. I was surprised too at the first moment. But there is no scientific reason to be surprised. 1. It is in practice impossible to avoid products with animal origin. You can hardly find drugs or cosmetics without tallow or gelatine. Also in food, ingredients of cattle, sheep or pig origin are ubiquitous. It is impossible to produce gelatine free of infectivity from BSE affected cattle and british raw material has been used until 1996. Nobody can say, if tallow, produced from BSE cattle is really free of infectivity. Who knows how tallow is produced exactly. And is there really a substancial difference between the infectivities of meat and milk? For both there is only one report of successful > transmission in the scientific literature. 2. According to the prion theory the incubation time is largely determined by the dosis at the earliest uptake of infectious agent. After the first few human prion proteins have been converted by cattle prions, the reaction goes on at least one order of magnitude faster with human prions which convert human prion protein. Once this process has been started, further infections with foreign prions needs to be very heavily to further increase the speed of the process. substancially. Therefore for those who became infected before 1985, it is not really relevant, if they became vegetarians later on. > An even more intriguing possibility suggested by the case is that the > new strain of CJD might not, after all, have been caused by BSE, but > Dr Will said he did not think that likely. Most scientists agree that > circumstantial evidence of a link is very strong. This is correct, but it is also possible that the so called new variant of CJD is not really new and occured from time to time long before BSE became a problem. Brown,P.; Rodgers-Johnson,P.; Cathala,F.; Gibbs,C.J. Jr. and Gajdusek,D.C. reported already 1984 in "Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease of long duration: clinicopathological characteristics, transmissibility, and differential diagnosis. - Annals of Neurology 1984 Sep; 16(3): 295-304", that 33 of 357 histopathologically verified cases belonged to a special type of CJD with very long clinical course (often several years instead of only a few months), younger age at onset (average, 48 years), and lower frequencies of myoclonus (79%) and periodic electroencephalographic activity (45%). I doubt that all this cases have been shown not to belong to the group of nvCJD. Presumably she also came into contact with pet food and >animal- based fertilisers. Hmmmmm. Fair comment. Indeed in many old-fashioned pet shops smaller quantities were sold from 25kg bags loose using a small scoop to hand-fill small paper bags. It is most unlikely that masks would be worn. However it's hard to believe that a serious vegetarian such as the young lady has been described as would work in such a place, or handle such products.

Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 11:07:29 -0400 From: John Stauber Subject: NEW CJD SCARE AS VEGETARIAN FALLS VICTIM To: aaMichaelHansen , aaRon&Rose , Tom Pringle , Ellen Ruppel Shell MIME-Version: 1.0 --------------- Forwarded Story --------------- Headline: NEW CJD SCARE AS VEGETARIAN FALLS VICTIM Wire Service: PA (PA News) Date: Fri, Aug 22, 1997 Copyright 1997 PA News. Copying, storing, redistribution, retransmission, publication, transfer or commerical exploitation of this information is expressly forbidden. By John von Radowitz, Simeon Tegel and Jo Butler, PA News Renewed alarm over the threat of Mad Cow Disease was raised today after it emerged a young woman contracted the new CJD strain linked to cattle after being a vegetarian for 12 years. Scientists are puzzled by the case of Clare Tomkins who became a strict vegetarian in 1985, a year before the first cases of BSE were detected in cattle. Some experts fear it could mean the incubation period of the disease is longer than has been thought -- fuelling fears of a future CJD epidemic. Others think the sources of the "new variant" CJD might have to be re-examined. Professor John Pattison, chairman of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee which helps shape Government policy on CJD, said: "The fact that this woman was a vegetarian for such a long time is an unusual feature and we will think about what the implications for that are. "But I don't think it invalidates our thinking at the moment which is that new variant CJD was probably caused by infected animal tissue prior to the offal ban." Beef tissue likely to be infected with BSE, especially the brain and spinal cord, were banned from human consumption in 1989. Professor Richard Lacey, who first warned the world about the BSE threat in 1990, said scientists should not dismiss the possibility that Miss Tomkins contracted the illness from drinking milk. Just because milk had not been found to infect mice in laboratory tests did not rule it out as a carrier of the BSE agent, he said. Drinking milk with low concentrations of the agent over a long period might the same as eating meat which was much more highly infected. It could be significant that Miss Tomkins, from Tonbridge, lived in Kent, which was one of the first places where BSE emerged. Seven victims of new variant CJD had come from Kent. "Meat is generally produced centrally, particularly things like burgers and sausages, whereas milk is produced locally," said Professor Lacey. Both CJD and BSE are thought to be caused by abnormal prion proteins which are impossible to detect directly. The only way their presence can be shown is by injecting infected tissue into mice and observing the results. This method had not revealed BSE in the milk of sick cows. But Professor Lacey said this might only be because milk did not contain a high enough concentration of the agent. "The experiments are not satisfactory," he said. "It just means you can't pump enough infected milk into a mouse. But milk might be infectious if consumed over a long period of time. "The crucial question that has not been answered is whether a small exposure frequently is more or less a risk than a large exposure on one or two occasions. It's possible that milk could provide the small exposure." Miss Tomkins's father Roger has said that although his daughter was a strict vegetarian, she ate cheese and milk. Professor Lacey said another possibility was that Miss Tomkins might have been infected by gelatin, which is made using beef products. Gelatin is used, among other things, for health supplement capsules. Professor Lacey said: "This case is disturbing and uncomfortable. There is too much complacency and propaganda surrounding this whole issue, and I blame the new Government as well as the old one. "They seem to be more concerned about the political effects of the beef ban than trying to find a real solution." Both he and Dr Stephen Dealler, a statistician who has warned of a possible explosion of CJD cases, were worried by the implication of an incubation period of more than 12 years. Dr Dealler pointed out that if the incubation period was only about five years the trickle of cases emerging now would represent the peak of the epidemic. On the other hand, this rate of cases emerging for a disease with an incubation period of 25 years spelled a future plague involving hundreds of thousands of victims. In reality the epidemic peak may end up being well past the year 2000, said Dr Dealler. If Miss Tomkins was infected by meat it would have been at a time when not very many cattle -- probably only two or three thousand -- had BSE. The five-year incubation period of BSE meant she could have been infected up to four years before she turned vegetarian. "It certainly means she was very unlucky," said Dr Dealler. "Secondly it suggests the incubation period we're seeing (for CJD) is relatively long. She must have been infected relatively early on, 12 years plus. "It's hard to make predictions from this because you need enough cases to get statistics on them, but it is quite depressing." Prof Pattison said a cow with BSE would become significantly more infectious towards the end of its incubation period. "If this young lady stopped eating meat in 1985, we are just within the margins when she might or might not have been exposed because of her meat eating." He said although Miss Tomkins worked in a pet shop, there was no reason to suppose she could have caught CJD from handling infected pet food. Scientists still could only guess how long the incubation period was for new variant CJD. He added: "The symptoms of the first cases started in 1994. We reckon the maximum exposure would have been pre-1989, so this makes the incubation period at least five years. But it's more likely to be 10 or something, we don't know." Mr Tomkins warned that Britain could be sitting on a "time-bomb". He said: "Clare's case means the incubation period could be much longer than was first thought. "It is like a time-bomb and now it may take that much longer before the real extent of CJD becomes clear." Mr Tomkins, 51, a company director, said it was at first thought that his normally bright and bubbly daughter was suffering psychiatric problems when she first became confused last year. It was only a fortnight ago, after she underwent a new diagnostic test for CJD at St Mary's Hospital, west London, that it was confirmed she had the disease. "We have been through an awful 10 months," Mr Tomkins said. "It never entered our heads that Clare could have CJD because she was such a strict vegetarian. "She ate cheese and milk but would not touch anything like biscuits if they had meat products in them." Clare, believed to be the 22nd victim of new variant CJD, is now in the advanced stages of the disease and needs 24-hour nursing and feeding by tube directly into the stomach. "She has just come back home after spending two-and-a-half months in hospital," said Mr Tomkins. "We are glad to have her back in the safety of our own home and she is comfortable. She is conscious but unable to communicate." Mr Tomkins said his daughter's fiance, whom he would only name as Andrew, was "shattered", and added: "His world has fallen apart. They were engaged for three years." Rabies Death Linked to Brown Bats Date: 97-08-21 22:13:33 EDT From: AOL News

.c The Associated Press
By TARA MEYER ATLANTA (AP) - A Washington state man died in January of a rabies virus from a brown bat, the first case ever linked to that species, the government said Thursday. A 65-year-old man from Montana also died of rabies in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. These are the only cases of human rabies reported in the United States so far this year. The 64-year-old man from Mason County, Wash., was hospitalized in December for chronic back pain and numbness in his left arm. He died Jan. 18. The man from Blaine County, Mont., also suffered arm numbness and muscle spasms and eventually couldn't breathe without a ventilator. He died Jan. 5. Doctors had thought the men died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the rare human version of mad cow disease, because severe muscle spasms are symptoms of that, said Dr. Lisa Rotz of the CDC. But an analysis of brain tissue showed the Washington man died of a rabies virus linked to the big brown bat, a species found in the western United States. The silver-haired bat caused rabies in the Montana man. It has been blamed for 13 of the 19 bat-rabies cases reported in the United States since 1980. Relatives of both men don't remember the men complaining of bat bites, but the Montana man's relatives said a bat had flown through the window last summer and was roosting around the house. Bat bites are small and sometimes aren't seen, the CDC said. Rabies also can be transmitted by scratches, if a bat's claw is contaminated with its saliva. AP-NY-08-21-97 2208EDT
 Copyright 1997 The
Associated Press.  The information 
contained in the AP news report may not be published, 
broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without 
prior written authority of The Associated Press.

August 23 1997 BRITAINÝ Ý New CJD strain threatens thousands BY MICHAEL HORNSBY, AGRICULTURE CORRESPONDENT THE number of cases of CJD could run into thousands, scientists fear, after the disclosure that a woman who has been vegetarian for 11 years is suffering from the new strain of the disease. If the condition of Clare Tomkins, 24, was caused by her eating BSE-infected beef she must have contracted the disease before 1986, the year in which the first case of BSE in cattle was confirmed. If this proves to be anything like the typical incubation period, it would dash any lingering hopes that the relatively few cases of the disease represent the peak of the epidemic and would not rise further. A study published earlier this year in the science journal Nature predicted between 156 and 213 cases with a ten-year incubation period, between 620 and 1,595 for a 15-year period, between 2,179 and 12,000 with a 20-year period and between 7,000 and 88,000 with a 25-year period. Researchers will now also have to investigate whether meat may be infectious from cattle at an earlier stage of incubation of BSE than previously thought. If that is true many other people might have been infected by eating meat in the 1980s. Another avenue for scientists to explore could be the possibility that milk and cheese might be a source of infection, but most scientists believe Miss Tomkins is most likely to have eaten beef infected with BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, before she turned vegetarian. John Pattison, Professor of Medical Microbiology at University College, London, who chairs the committee which advises the Government on CJD, said: "It is an unusual case but I do not think it destroys our hypothesis that the most probable route for infection with the new strain of CJD is food containing contaminated beef. "This case does not change my personal view that, while one still cannot rule out the possibility of thousands of cases of new-variant CJD, the eventual number is more likely to be in the hundreds." Professor John Collinge, another member of the committee who heads the specialist CJD research unit at St Mary's Hospital, London, where Miss Tomkins' condition was diagnosed, said: "There is as yet no way of predicting whether Britain, and possibly Europe, will be confronted by, in medical terms, a very limited problem, or by a major epidemic." To date there have been only 22 cases of the new strain of CJD.

August 23 1997 BRITAINÝ Ý Richard Duce on a family's despair Father tells of fears AS Clare Tomkins, 24, lies motionless in the bedroom of the detached house where she played as a child, her father constantly fields calls from journalists trying to establish how she became the latest victim of a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Roger Tomkins, a company director, has no answers. His daughter, who has been brought home to die, was a vegetarian for 11 years, yet now is stricken with an illness linked to "mad cow" disease. What he does have is the fear that his daughter's awful and rapid descent from a bright and bubbly woman into a near comatose state could become a reality for others. Throughout an hour-long interview Mr Tomkins presses home his simple message: that parents and the medical profession should both be alerted to symptoms which in his daughter were diagnosed as acute depression for more than six months. In October last year Miss Tomkins was looking forward to marriage to Andrew, her fiancČ of three years, and to her work as manager of a pet department at a local garden centre. Her love of animals drove her to give up eating meat when she was 13 and a proportion of her wages was sent monthly by direct debit to an animal charity. Mr Tomkins, 51, who lives near Tonbridge, Kent, said: "Andrew noticed that she was becoming withdrawn and didn't want to go out anymore. Before that she was bubbly with a fantastic sense of humour." Clare was prescribed anti-depressants by her GP and acute anxiety was diagnosed. She was forced to stop work when it became clear her treatment was not working. By January this year Mr Tomkins and his wife Dawn, 53, were feeling increasingly powerless in helping their daughter and eventually decided to book her into a private psychiatric clinic. "But she would be crying most of the time and her eyesight was becoming affected and she was losing a lot of weight. She began to get double vision, her memory loss was such that she couldn't remember what she had for lunch." Mr Tomkins described how he would lay a trail of chairs across the living room for his daughter to reach the door as her condition worsened. "She was at the clinic for four and a half weeks from the end of February until after Easter and during that time there was no progress. We brought her home because we felt that maybe she just needed love and care. "Her weight loss was frightening. She was normally about 7st 3lb and we struggled to get her over 5st 10lb by giving her nutritional drinks. Until March she was still concerned about her appearance and was putting on make-up ... we took her on a short break to Norfolk but by May 10 we realised she was getting worse." Miss Tomkins was readmitted to the private clinic two days later. May 13 will never be forgotten by Mr Tomkins. It was Miss Tomkins's birthday and father and daughter had their last conversation. "We simply talked about how it was her 24th birthday and how much we all loved her," he said. "Because of her illness she could not open her cards and presents, so we did it for her." Mr Tomkins said his daughter's condition deteriorated during motivational therapy at the private clinic and on May 28 she became unconscious and was taken to the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells. It was there over the next two and a half months that doctors came to the conclusion that Miss Tomkins's condition was not psychological but neurological. During that time she was given intravenous antidepressants and her father also consented to electro-convulsive treatment for his daughter under general anaesthetic. Ten days ago she was taken to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington which specialises in the investigation of CJD. There the disease was confirmed. Mr Tomkins recalled that in February his daughter had a brain scan which cannot reveal CJD. It was discussed in a speculative way. "I said 'you can forget that because she's been a vegetarian for 11 years'." Last Tuesday Miss Tomkins went home from the Kent and Sussex Hospital. Her father said: "She is very comfortable. We play her the tapes she loves of dolphin and whale music. She has nursing day and night and she is being fed through her stomach. Our conversation is eye contact. She will recognise things that you say but she can't talk. She has pictures of animals in her room as she's always had." At the garden centre where Miss Tomkins had worked for the past eight years after leaving school with five GCSEs, staff were close to tears after they learnt yesterday for the first time about her illness. Terry Shead, the garden centre owner, said: "I've known her since she was a baby and everyone here is absolutely shocked; it is so tragic." Mr Shead has no idea how Miss Tomkins could have contracted CJD. As manager of the pet department she did handle dry dog food as well as other tinned products. Mr Tomkins also has no idea. His daughter insisted that all packet food was checked to see whether it contained animal fats. He remembers that she might have taken nutritional tablets to supplement her vegetarian diet. It was at a family meeting last week that Mr and Mrs Tomkins, their daughter Lisa, 28, her husband and Andrew, who has visited his dying fiancČe constantly, decided to talk publicly about her illness. A picture of Lisa's wedding, where Clare was bridesmaid, takes pride of place in the room where the family made their decision. Mr Tomkins said: "She is only the 22nd person to contract this disease in the world. The odds against that alone must be millions. "When you consider that not a piece of meat, nor any other animal fat, has passed her lips in 11 years ... well I must admit that there is some anger inside me at the injustice of it. "There's nothing that could have been done for her, but it pains me to think what she went through. Looking back I wish we'd known sooner so that we could have done as much as we could for her, knowing she wasn't going to get better. "Our main concern now is that other parents whose children might be suffering from this terrible disease are aware of the possibility sooner than we were."

BSE CASES IN EUROPE `GO UNREPORTED' PA News Sat, Aug 23, 1997 By Mark Bradley, PA News The Government's argument that mad cow disease is not just a British problem today appeared to have been backed by a report which found mainland European Union countries had only reported one-sixth of their BSE cases. The Government and UK farmers have long maintained that other European countries have underestimated the scale of BSE infection in their cattle herds. And the study by three respected experts on animal disease appears to have vindicated the Government's stance that strict anti-BSE controls should be in place across Europe, The Daily Telegraph reported. The report showed that more than 55,400 cattle were exported from Britain to other EU countries for breeding between 1985 and 1989, when exports were halted to curb the spread of the disease. If these cattle had remained in Britain, an estimated 1,642 of them would have been likely to have contracted BSE, the vets are said to have concluded. Yet European countries had admitted to a total of only 285 cases, most of them in Switzerland, where authorities have also maintained that the number of cases elsewhere in Europe was far higher than was being admitted to. Scientists fear the huge number of apparently unreported cases may lead to BSE spreading in Europe as meat from infected animals could be used in animal food - leading to even more cases, many of which will again go unreported. And many of the worst apparent offenders are countries where the campaigns against British beef have been the strongest since March last year. In Germany, the expected number of cases by now would be 243 - yet the number so far officially reported has been just five - about 2%. Spain has reported none, where 54 have been expected, Portugal has reported 61 instead of 262 and the Irish Republic has reported 188, as opposed to the anticipated number of 911. So far, some 168,000 cattle have died in the UK from BSE since 1988, but a total of only 515 cases have been reported from all other parts of the world, including the EU - despite the exports of cattle from Britain. Ben Gill, National Farmers' Union deputy president, told the Telegraph: "This report vindicates the position taken by the NFU and the Government. "It also vindicates the position 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." The research findings were published in The Veterinary Record, the official journal of the British Veterinary Association. Professor Karl Linklater, president of the BVA, said: "This report quantifies more accurately what we have believed all along." The research was carried out by 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 Germany's Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals. Agriculture Minister Jack Cunningham said standards of reporting and recording BSE cases varied widely across the Continent. "There's a wide variation in practice in the European Union. Some countries actually appear to have a financial incentive for their farmers not to report suspected cases of BSE, which does seem bizarre, if it is true." Mr Cunningham said he wanted to study the new statistics in detail, as well as other documentation, before deciding whether any action was needed. "Then I want to consider whether it would be appropriate for me to pursue the whole issue in the Council of Ministers," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Liberal Democrat food spokesman Paul Tyler said the study highlighted the need for tougher import controls. Mr Tyler said: "Today's report in the British Veterinary Record completely justifies our long campaign to ban foreign beef and beef derivatives which cannot be claimed to meet the high standards of safety we now demand in the UK. "The present minister has moved in this direction and we support him. But the failure of his predecessor Mr (Douglas) Hogg to protect British consumers for so long is inexplicable. "And the burger chains who insisted on force feeding their customers with sub-standard imported beef for over a year are shown to have been completely irresponsible. We hope that they will now ... apologise, both to their customers and to the farmers whose lives they helped to wreck."

Date: Sat, 23 Aug 1997 15:54:51 -0400 From: John Stauber Subject: BRITAIN SET TO RAISE NEW BSE ROW WITH EU To: aaMichaelHansen , aaRon&Rose , Tom Pringle MIME-Version: 1.0 --------------- Forwarded Story --------------- Headline: BRITAIN SET TO RAISE NEW BSE ROW WITH EU Wire Service: PA (PA News) Date: Sat, Aug 23, 1997 Copyright 1997 PA News. Copying, storing, redistribution, retransmission, publication, transfer or commerical exploitation of this information is expressly forbidden. By John Deane and Mark Bradley, PA News The Government may raise with the European Union a study which suggests that Continental countries are hugely under-reporting BSE cases. The new study, by three respected experts on animal disease, appears to back up UK farmers' long-standing suspicions that other European countries have underestimated the scale of BSE infection in their cattle herds. Agriculture Minister Jack Cunningham said standards of reporting and recording BSE cases appeared to vary widely across the Continent. Mr Cunningham said: "There's a wide variation in practice in the European Union. "Some countries actually appear to have a financial incentive for their farmers not to report suspected cases of BSE, which does seem bizarre." In some Continental countries, the discovery of a BSE-infected animal results in the slaughter of the entire herd, which, depending on the compensation terms on offer, can entail substantial losses for the farmer. Mr Cunningham said he wanted to study the new statistics in detail, as well as other documentation, before deciding whether any action was appropriate, but hinted that he was prepared to raise the issue with his European counterparts. "Then I want to consider whether it would be appropriate for me to pursue the whole issue in the Council of Ministers," said Mr Cunningham. Ironically, the German Government today suggested that the EU should clamp down on Britain after illegal exports of beef which may have been infected by mad cow disease reached German consumers. The new study, published in The Veterinary Record, the official journal of the British Veterinary Association, showed that more than 55,400 cattle were exported from Britain to other EU countries for breeding between 1985 and 1989, when exports were halted to curb the spread of the disease. If these cattle had remained in Britain, an estimated 1,642 of them would have been likely to have contracted BSE, the vets concluded. Yet European countries had admitted to a total of only 285 cases, most of them in Switzerland, where authorities have also maintained that the number of cases elsewhere in Europe was far higher than was being acknowledged. Scientists fear the huge number of apparently unreported cases may lead to BSE spreading in Europe as meat from infected animals could be used in animal food - leading to even more cases, many of which will again go unreported. Many of the worst apparent offenders are countries where the campaigns against British beef have been the strongest since March last year. In Germany, the expected number of cases by now would be 243 - yet the number so far officially reported has been just five, the study suggests. In July, the European Commission narrowly backed British calls for tougher sanitary standards in Continental abattoirs, prompting Mr Cunningham to drop his threat that the Government would unilaterally ban imports of beef not slaughtered to British hygiene standards. But the new study prompted Liberal Democrat food spokesman Paul Tyler to renew his call for even sterner action. Mr Tyler said: "Today's report completely justifies our long campaign to ban foreign beef and beef derivatives which cannot meet the high standards of safety we now demand in the UK. "The present minister has moved in this direction and we support him. But the failure of his predecessor Mr (Douglas) Hogg to protect British consumers for so long is inexplicable. "And the burger chains who insisted on force-feeding their customers with sub-standard imported beef for over a year are shown to have been completely irresponsible. "We hope that they will now ... apologise, both to their customers and to the farmers whose lives they helped to wreck." Ben Gill, National Farmers' Union deputy president, said: "This report vindicates the position taken by the NFU and the Government. We have made the point all along that BSE is not just a British problem." The research was carried out by 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 Germany's Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals. The German Health Ministry in Bonn tried to calm its jittery public after reports that contaminated beef had reached local markets by pledging to press the EU's executive board for tighter controls to back the 17-month-old ban on British beef exports. "We are demanding that the EU Commission ensure that the monitoring of the export ban be done more effectively," said Health Ministry spokesman Maria Voelker-Albert. The German authorities said several tonnes of sausages and corned beef products, made from part of an estimated 600 tonnes of meat smuggled from Britain, had already been consumed.

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