BSE linked to new variant of CJD in humans

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 30 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:795
  1. Luisa Dillner

    Children are no more susceptible to the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease than the rest of the population, the British government announced this week (see pages 790, 791, and 854). The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee considered further genetic information on the 10 new cases of CJD reported last week and consulted with a paediatrician, immunologist, and gastroenterologist before reaching its decision last weekend. It repeated its view that the most likely explanation for the 10 new cases is exposure to the agent that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle that occurred before the ban on the use of cow offal was introduced in 1989. In accepting the committee's opinion, the government has for the first time acknowledged that BSE could be transmissible to humans.

    There were 40 cases of CJD in Britain last year according to government statistics, compared with 54 in 1994. About 15% of these have a genetic basis; others are sporadic, for which no cause is known—these usually occur in people aged over 60. …

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