The jury is still outBMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7017.1416 (Published 25 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1416
- Paul Brown, medical director (US Public Health Service)a
- aLaboratory of Central Nervous Studies, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has now been identified in four farmers and two adolescents in Britain, where its bovine spongiform counterpart has been epidemic for the past several years. Is there a connection? This question is being discussed by many different groups according to pre-existing biases and professional goals, as might be expected for so controversial and potentially explosive a topic. The media has in the main sounded alarm bells because its goal is to produce an exciting story; the government has taken a low key, cautious approach because its goal is to prevent unwarranted panic; and medical science has been somewhat unpredictably divided in its evaluation, depending at least in part on individuals' distaste or flair for publicity.
In fact, no one can …