New variant CJD and BSE are linked

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 02 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1100

The first direct evidence that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) seems to have been transmitted to humans has been reported. The announcement has increased European pressure on the British government to accelerate the cull of cows.

Professor John Collinge and his colleagues from the Prion Disease Group at the Imperial College School of Medicine in London identified a molecular marker present in cases of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) (Nature 1996;383:685-90). New variant CJD has so far been identified in 14 patients in the United Kingdom—two of them still alive—who developed the disease at a comparatively young age.

The characteristic molecular signature seen in the new variant form was not found in other strains of CJD but was seen in BSE in cattle and in BSE …

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