GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Britain confirms cases of human version of mad cow disease (fwd)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 1997 19:10:20 -0800
From: Kay Ness <>
Subject: Britain confirms cases of human version of mad cow disease

Britain confirms cases of human version of
mad cow disease

Copyright  1997
Copyright  1997 Reuter Information Service 

LONDON (Mar 3, 1997 08:43 a.m. EST) - The British government Monday 
confirmed that 16
people either had or were suspected of having the human version of mad 
cow disease.

In its regular update on cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), the 
health department said there
were 13 confirmed cases of the new variant of CJD and three suspected 

The brain-wasting CJD occurs regularly in the population, affecting about 
one in a million. It is
always fatal.

A new variant was identified last year and government scientists said a 
likely source was eating beef
products infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow 

The figures, put togther by the National CJD Surveillance Unit, indicate 
a total of 127 cases of CJD
in Britain last year.

"In definite cases the diagnosis will have been pathologically confirmed, 
in most cases by
postmortem examination of brain tissue (rarely it may be possible to 
establish a definite diagnosis by
brain biopsy while the patient is still alive)," the health department 
statement said.

"Probable cases have not been confirmed pathologically; some cases are 
never confirmed
pathologically because a postmortem examination does not take place (for 
instance where the
relatives of the patient refuse consent) and these cases remain 
permanently in the probable

In addition to the British cases there has been one confirmed case of new 
variant CJD in France.