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 (3,182 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 출장안마

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thank you for supplying this info.


    June 24, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Mobile Repair Service Near Me

    Itís hard to find knowledgeable people for this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 24, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am having problems with your RSS. I donít know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 24, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 출장

    Howdy! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have here on this post. I am coming back to your site for more soon.


    June 24, 2021 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 케이출장

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


    June 24, 2021 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Ac Repair Near Me

    Itís difficult to find educated people on this topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 24, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dwight Crusinberry

    The Citizen Nighthawk CA295-58E does not show off expensive tech, apart from Eco-Drive technology. If you are brand-new to this, the watch captures any type of type of light as well as converts it right into power.


    June 24, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 출장안마

    There's definately a great deal to know about this issue. I really like all the points you made.


    June 24, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Near Me Now

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 24, 2021 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 출장안마

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


    June 24, 2021 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Roof Repair Service Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 출장안마

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 24, 2021 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 부산출장마사지

    This page truly has all of the info I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 24, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 출장마사지

    This is the right web site for everyone who wants to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for years. Great stuff, just wonderful!


    June 25, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 부산출장안마

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I donít know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 25, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 출장안마

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


    June 25, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. orange county collision center

    Howdy! This post couldnít be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rv collision repair near me


    June 25, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 25, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 출장마사지

    Excellent post. I certainly appreciate this website. Thanks!


    June 25, 2021 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Tire Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV And Trailer Repair Near Me

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more about this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!


    June 25, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Centers Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 25, 2021 at 05:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. pharmaceptica.com

    100mg sildenafil no rx canadian https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Store Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 07:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 출장안마

    You made some really good points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 25, 2021 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. dự đoán kết quả bóng đá hôm nay

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

    June 25, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 25, 2021 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Daniela Outhier

    Are you a creative writing instructor at a university? How do you handle potentially dangerous students?


    June 25, 2021 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. pharmaceptica

    hydroxychloroquine for malaria https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Satellite Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Camper RV Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 부산출장안마

    Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Furnace Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 케이출장

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not discuss these topics. To the next! Many thanks!!


    June 25, 2021 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 출장마사지

    Great information. Lucky me I recently found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    June 25, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 25, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Leadership Podcast Best

    Can I just say what a comfort to find someone who actually understands what they're discussing online. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you are not more popular since you definitely have the gift.


    June 25, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 부산 출장안마

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


    June 25, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 부산 출장마사지

    There's definately a great deal to learn about this issue. I love all of the points you've made.


    June 25, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Nearest RV Repair

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their websites.


    June 25, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. 케이출장

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Kassie Stofflet

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 25, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. 출장

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repairs Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 25, 2021 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Best RV Repair Near Me

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 25, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repair


    June 25, 2021 at 18:25 | 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.