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 (3,187 Responses)
  1. delivery near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely feel this amazing site needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!


    June 17, 2021 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. colleges near me


    June 17, 2021 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 파워볼사이트

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to write more on this issue, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!


    June 17, 2021 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. pho near me


    June 17, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 파워볼 사이트

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to come back once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 17, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 888 bet

    Coi Trực Tiếp Viettel Vs Tỉnh Bình Dương Trên V League 2021 Ở Kênh Nào? bong da soĐội tuyển futsal nước Việt Nam đã có được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước đối thủ đầy sức mạnh Lebanon. Kết trái Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước ngày hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất Việt Nam.


    June 17, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 출장안마

    Good post. I am going through many of these issues as well..


    June 17, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. check cashing near me

    Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people about this subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 17, 2021 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. plant nursery near me

    I used to be able to find good information from your articles.


    June 17, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. pharmacy near me


    June 17, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 대구출장

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 17, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. minute clinic near me

    I blog often and I seriously thank you for your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    June 17, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 우리카지노

    After looking over a number of the blog posts on your web site, I truly appreciate your way of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website too and let me know what you think.


    June 17, 2021 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. outback near me

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal website now 😉


    June 17, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 카지노사이트

    Very good info. Lucky me I found your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!


    June 17, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jamaican food near me


    June 17, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. vietnamese food near me

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!


    June 17, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. culver's near me


    June 17, 2021 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 카지노사이트

    Iím amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I found this during my search for something relating to this.


    June 17, 2021 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. firewood near me


    June 17, 2021 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. hand sanitizer near me

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 17, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. eyeglasses near me

    Good article. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well..


    June 17, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 우리 카지노

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this issue here on your website.


    June 18, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. qdoba near me


    June 18, 2021 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 울산출장

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 카지노 사이트

    Itís nearly impossible to find experienced people for this topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 18, 2021 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. indian food near me


    June 18, 2021 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 부산출장

    Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 카지노사이트

    I seriously love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own personal blog and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thank you!


    June 18, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. cvs covid testing near me


    June 18, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. post office near me


    June 18, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. auto parts near me

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the web. I'm going to recommend this website!


    June 18, 2021 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. barber shop near me

    I couldnít resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 18, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. longhorn steakhouse near me

    Very good write-up. I definitely appreciate this site. Stick with it!


    June 18, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 우리 카지노

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Kudos!


    June 18, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 우리 카지노

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


    June 18, 2021 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 우리카지노

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!


    June 18, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 카지노 사이트

    I wanted to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to look at new things you postÖ


    June 18, 2021 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. chevy dealers near me


    June 18, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. waterproofing deck systems


    June 18, 2021 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. general contractor near me

    Very good post. I'm going through a few of these issues as well..


    June 18, 2021 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 우리 카지노

    I was excited to find this site. I need to to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to see new information in your site.


    June 18, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. foundation crack repair near me


    June 18, 2021 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 카지노 사이트

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


    June 18, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Britt Hunkins

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


    June 18, 2021 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Nearby RV Repair


    June 18, 2021 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. 부산출장

    Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 18, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. bathroom remodeling stores near me

    Great post! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 18, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. 울산출장

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your site!


    June 18, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repair Places Near Me

    I love reading through a post that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    June 18, 2021 at 15:25 | 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.