Letters

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is being maintained by vertical and horizontal transmission

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7024.180b (Published 20 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:180
  1. R W Lacey
  1. Professor of clinical microbiology Department of Microbiology, University of Leeds, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds LS7 4SA

    EDITOR,—In their article looking at the possibility of maternal transmission of spongiform encephalopathy R M Ridley and H F Baker analyse previously published information and conclude that natural sheep scrapie has a genetic basis.1 Of course this is so. Because of the absence of nucleic acid within the infective particle, host genome is required for the pathogenesis of the disease,2 and it follows that such genes are inherited in various ways. This in no way negates the well established observations that the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are due to infectious agents which are acquired by vulnerable hosts in a variety of ways, including maternal transmission.3 Maternal transmission cannot sustain the disease …

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