Variant CJD still poses threat to public health, warn experts

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 28 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7142
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) to public health in the United Kingdom is still very much a reality and requires funding for research and universal blood tests, scientific experts have warned.

MPs on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee holding an evidence session on 27 November as part of their inquiry into vCJD were told by experts of the ongoing risks of the disease.

The degenerative brain disease, sometimes called the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease,” emerged after widespread exposure to BSE prions in the late 1980s and early 1990s through contaminated meat products in the food chain.

At the evidence session, Andrew Miller, the committee’s chairman and Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, asked, “Do you think that variant CJD continues to pose a significant risk to public health?”

John Collinge, professor of neurology at University College London …

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