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. storno brzinol

    I used to be very happy to search out this internet-site.I wished to thanks on your time for this excellent read!! I undoubtedly enjoying each little little bit of it and I've you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.


    May 20, 2021 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Columbus Prestridge

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs


    May 20, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Digital Marketing Experts

    Very nice post. I certainly love this website. Keep it up!


    May 20, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. CBD Oil for Dogs Coupon Code

    Your manner of addressin this subject is both remarkable as well as motivating.


    May 20, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. tấm Compact

    Hello there, You have done an excellent job.
    I'll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I'm confident they will be benefited from this site.

    May 20, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. báo giá vách ngăn vệ sinh

    First of all I would like to say great blog! I had
    a quick question that I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    head prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my
    mind in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take
    pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?


    May 20, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 먹튀검증

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


    May 20, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Social Media Marketing Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Digital Marketing Services

    I'm pretty pleased to find this website. I need to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to see new stuff in your site.


    May 20, 2021 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Local Marketing Business

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    May 20, 2021 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. SEO Marketing Agencies

    Hi there! This article could not be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 20, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Internet Marketing Service

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.


    May 20, 2021 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 사설토토

    I need to to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new things you postÖ


    May 20, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. oc towing company

    Right here is the perfect webpage for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about for years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    May 20, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. LebnEncox

    Luvox http://xlnpharmacy.com/ pharmacy discount card

    May 20, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Elene Cleven

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs


    May 20, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service Center Near Me

    I was able to find good advice from your blog articles.


    May 20, 2021 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Generator California


    May 20, 2021 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. camera shop orange county


    May 20, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Entertainment System Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. orange county ca rv parks

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people don't discuss such topics. To the next! All the best!!


    May 20, 2021 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. chloroquineorigin

    chloroquine online https://chloroquineorigin.com/ – chloroquine hcl chloroquine autophagy aralen phosphate chloroquine phosphate aralen phosphate chloroquine phosphate

    May 21, 2021 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 먹튀

    There's certainly a great deal to know about this subject. I love all the points you have made.


    May 21, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Windows Orange County

    Howdy! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you have here on this post. I will be returning to your website for more soon.


    May 21, 2021 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    It's an amazing paragraph in support of all the internet visitors; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

    May 21, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. national interstate rv insurance reviews


    May 21, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Authorized Mercedes Benz Service Centers Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. SEO Marketing Companies Near Me

    Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 21, 2021 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Tires Riverside

    This is the right blog for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that has been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 21, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 먹튀검증

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!


    May 21, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. 메이저사이트

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I am hoping to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉


    May 21, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. bathroom repair near me


    May 21, 2021 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Google Marketing Business


    May 21, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Social Media Marketing Agency Around Me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read articles from other writers and use a little something from their web sites.


    May 21, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Generator Riverside


    May 21, 2021 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. drive tumbler

    Mangalloy, likewise called manganese steel or Hadfield steel, is an alloy steel having an average of around 13 manganese.


    May 21, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Alignment Orange County


    May 21, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 메이저사이트

    You're so interesting! I don't suppose I've truly read anything like this before. So nice to discover someone with unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    May 21, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. sports

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wonddering iff you knew
    of any widgets I could add to myy blog that automatically twewt myy newest twqitter updates.
    I've been looking for a plug-in ike this for quite some ime and was hopling maybe you would have some experience with something
    like this. Pleasze llet me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward too your
    new updates.

    May 21, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Video Marketing Consultant

    Hi there! I simply want to give you a big thumbs up for the great information you have right here on this post. I'll be coming back to your website for more soon.


    May 21, 2021 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. sandvik vsi crusher parts

    Various other short articles where Manganese steel is reviewed: steel: Wear-resistant steels: Manganese steels are usually called Hadfield steels, after their developer, Robert Hadfield.


    May 21, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. FmrfEncox

    cialis quick ship http://cialisee.com/ cialis and dapoxetine canada

    May 21, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. trusted tire orange ca


    May 21, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. camping trailer repair near me


    May 21, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. certified rv repair


    May 21, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. JebgEncox

    canadian pharmacy online viagra http://pharmacylo.com/ Tenoretic 100mg

    May 21, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. chloroquineorigin

    https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine cancer https://chloroquineorigin.com/ – chloroquine phosphate arechin

    May 21, 2021 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. box truck floor repair

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    May 21, 2021 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Sound System California


    May 21, 2021 at 22:19 | 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.