30,000 may carry human form of mad cow
October 15th, 2013
04:06 PM ET

30,000 may carry human form of mad cow

Up to 30,000 people in Britain may be silent carriers of the human form of mad cow disease, according to new research published Tuesday.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) is the human form of the fatal brain-wasting disease found in cows called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - better known as mad cow disease.  So far there have only been 177 confirmed human cases in the United Kingdom, according to the study. Forty-nine more cases have been reported in 11 other countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Previous research suggested maybe 1 in 4,000 people living in Britain were carrying the protein that causes vCJD, says Dr. Sebastian Brandner, one of the study authors and head of the Division of Neuropathology at Queen Square, one of the largest academic neuropathology departments in the UK. But that estimate was made using a smaller sample, says Brandner.

This new study, published Tuesday in the medical journal BMJ, was much larger. Researchers studied appendix samples from 32,441 people and found 16 that tested positive for vCJD. Given that population of the United Kingdom is a little over 60 million, Brandner says that means about 1 in 2,000 people - or roughly 30,000 people total - have this potentially lethal prion.

Brandner says the peak of mad cow disease was in 1992, and the peak of the human form of mad cow disease occurred in 2000. This suggests there is an 8-year incubation period for the disease. However, his research has revealed that there are at least three different forms of the prion protein linked to vCJD, which might explain why more people haven't become sick with the disease - yet.

"These people may harbor that [vCJD] for a longer time; they may develop a different type of prion disease; they may be silent carriers," says Brandner.

He says there's one definite concern: that these silent carriers may be potentially transmitting the disease.

There is no blood test to detect vCJD, so someone could unknowingly pass the prion protein on to others when they give blood, and prions are not destroyed by standard sterilization methods usually used for surgical instruments – only harsher, stronger sterilization procedures will kill them.

According to WHO, the human form of mad cow disease was first reported in the United Kingdom in March 1996 and the first cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was first reported in the United Kingdom in 1986.  More than 184,000 cows in the UK were eventually confirmed to have BSE.

The average age of death for vCJD is about 28 years, according to the CDC, which is one way it distinguishes itself from classic Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease; classic CJD emerged more than a century ago and affects older people. The average age for this disease, which is not linked to the consumption of meat from cattle with BSE, is 68.

In an accompanying editorial in the journal, Roland Salmon, a retired consultant epidemiologist, argues that vCJD is not yesterday's news because there are many questions that still need to be answered. He notes that blood tests that could be used widely for screening and diagnosing vCJD are still elusive. He also suggests that the number of precautions taken to secure the blood supply to prevent transmission (which can be costly) needs to continue, because even though there have been only 171 cases of vCJD in the UK, this new research confirms that there could be more cases in the futures.  

Salmon also points out that the UK has been leading in the field of prion research in animal and human diseases. Since more research is needed,  “further disinvestment [in this type of research] would be premature.”

soundoff (3,190 Responses)
  1. Elane Phuma

    I don't know about you all but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/03/spring-break-airtran-lets-college-students-fly-stand-by-for-cheap/


    May 17, 2021 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 먹튀검증

    Hello there, I think your site may be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic website!


    May 17, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 먹튀검증

    Everyone loves it when people get together and share thoughts. Great blog, stick with it!


    May 17, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. trailer repair service near me


    May 17, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 토토사이트

    After looking over a handful of the blog posts on your web site, I really appreciate your way of blogging. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website too and let me know how you feel.


    May 18, 2021 at 03:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RebfZisse

    cialis 10mg canada http://rcialisgl.com/ – cheapest cialis review cialis discount pharmacy

    May 18, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. https://philadelphiaweekly.com/10-best-cbd-lubes-to-buy-in-2021/

    Love the way you cover this topic.


    May 18, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 토토사이트

    I really like it when folks come together and share views. Great site, stick with it!

    May 18, 2021 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. toy hauler remodel

    I love it when individuals come together and share opinions. Great blog, continue the good work!


    May 18, 2021 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. vach ngan ve sinh

    Thanks for finally talking about > 30,000 may carry human form of mad cow –
    The Chart – CNN.com Blogs < Liked it!

    May 18, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    Very good article. I'm dealing with some of these issues as well..


    May 18, 2021 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 18, 2021 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. https://philadelphiaweekly.com/10-best-cbd-lubes-to-buy-in-2021/

    The only point I cry over is not having actually found your blog before.


    May 18, 2021 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. how to start a food truck business in california

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the site is very good.


    May 18, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. how to start a niche food business


    May 18, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Cheap Dental Doctor


    May 18, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Elderly Care Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I've got you book marked to check out new things you post…


    May 18, 2021 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Internet Marketing Business


    May 18, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ginseng energy pills

    Good info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've book marked it for later!


    May 18, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Good Eye Doctors Near Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your site.


    May 18, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Tin Roofing Near Me


    May 18, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. weight loss energy pills


    May 19, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Optomap Near Me

    You have made some decent points there. I looked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    May 19, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 사설토토

    Saved as a favorite, I like your website!


    May 19, 2021 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 먹튀검증

    This web site certainly has all of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    May 19, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Dierdre Stracener

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/11/livery-round-up-air-india-boeing-dreamliner-787-is-newest-livery-lets-look-at-all-seven/


    May 19, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Maserati Bukkake


    May 19, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Best Roofing Contractors Near Me

    Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Digital Marketing California

    I want to to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you post…


    May 19, 2021 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 먹튀검증

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉


    May 19, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Eye Exams Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I've got you book-marked to look at new things you post…


    May 19, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Maserati Quattroporte Price

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the website is also very good.


    May 19, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Eyes Exam Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. LbsoZisse

    cialis without prescriptions uk https://ucialisdas.com/ – cialis 20 mg best price cialis for sale brand

    May 19, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LebnEncox

    online drugstore Cordarone pharmacy online cheap

    May 19, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Lake Mead Rental Jet Ski

    Your style is unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this site.


    May 19, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 먹튀검증

    I really love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own personal site and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Cheers!


    May 19, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Custom Metal Fab Near Me

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.


    May 19, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sprinter Mechanic


    May 19, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Cabinet Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FmrfEncox

    cialis buy https://cialisee.com/ – buy cialis in australia viagra,cialis india

    May 19, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Mattresses California

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.


    May 19, 2021 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. AnooEncox

    getting viagra in cancun https://llviagra.com/ viagra generico ems

    May 19, 2021 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Roof California

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.


    May 19, 2021 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Specialists


    May 19, 2021 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv interior remodeling companies


    May 19, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Solar Panels Systems Riverside


    May 19, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. https://www.sfgate.com/cannabis-paid/article/best-cbd-oil-for-dogs-15812674.php

    You have covered this subject expertly.


    May 19, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Kitchen Los Angeles

    I really like reading an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!


    May 19, 2021 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Ethyl Gile

    It's also a good idea to look for the best covers that have been tested for puncture resistance. Since your main goal here is to keep your motorcycle cover looking new for as long as possible, it's important that it doesn't get punctured while you're on the road.


    May 19, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.