- LONDON - The United States
already has mad sheep, mad deer, and mad elk, but the government has issued
assurances there is no mad cow disease not yet.
- However, the spread of mad cow disease across Europe
is already having a damaging effect on the U.S. blood supply and the worst
may be yet to come.
- Three flocks of "mad sheep" were diagnosed
in Vermont six months ago. A fatal "mad deer" disease is occurring
at epidemic levels in deer and elk across the Western states. Both of these
diseases are closely related to mad cow disease, or BSE (bovine spongiform
encephalopathy) a chronic wasting disease spreading across Europe and linked
to a deadly human variation called CJD.
- The U.S. government has banned beef from BSE-infected
countries, ordered vaccines from infected countries replaced and has placed
bans on certain blood donations.
- Efforts to protect America's blood supply from mad cow
contamination by donors who may have eaten contaminated beef have already
reduced the blood supply by 2.2 percent, the Red Cross reports. That translates
to approximately 300,000 units or pints of blood, which is more than 120,000
- New proposals could raise that percentage exponentially.
- Blood Ban
- Two years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
ordered a ban on British blood in an effort to protect against BSE, CJD
and another human counterpart, vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease).
- Anyone who has lived in the United Kingdom or Ireland
for more than six months between January 1980 and December 1996 is prohibited
for life from donating blood.
- The six-month benchmark was chosen when studies showed
banning everyone who visited Britain during that period would devastate
the American blood supply.
- Expanding the Ban Now, with reports of BSE and vCJD spreading
to Germany, France and beyond, the bans on blood donations may be extended
to include people who have spent time in other European countries.
- "Our bottom line is safety," says an FDA spokeswoman
who asked not to be identified. "These are precautionary measures.
The FDA will review residence of blood donors in France, and other BSE
countries including Germany. We are concerned both about blood safety and
maintaining an adequate supply of blood products."
- This means if you've traveled or studied in Europe or
if you are a member of the military stationed in Europe, your blood may
- U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dave Lee is one of hundreds of thousands
of U.S. military personnel and their families already banned from donating
- "I feel disappointed that I can no longer help anybody,"
says Lee, whose type O-negative blood once made him a universal donor.
"But I'm also relieved the powers that be are taking measures to protect
the blood supply."
- In recent weeks Germany has confirmed its first cases
of BSE. New cases have been reported in France and the Netherlands. The
disease has also been found in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein,
Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
- Risk for Hunters
- In addition to travelers and military personnel the FDA
is also considering banning blood from tens of thousand of hunters, including
those who took part in the fall 2000 hunting season.
- Mad deer disease, also called chronic wasting disease
or CWD, has hit a full 15 percent of free-ranging deer and elk in northeastern
Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.
- Three young hunters exposed to mad deer disease died
in the past three years of CJD. Although medical experts from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention found no evidence of a link, CDC epidemiologist
Dr. Ermias Belay says, "This does not totally exonerate CWD from being
a human pathogen."
- Cruel and Miserable Death
- The government concerns about BSE and CJD are well founded.
The new variant CJD has no cure and no reliable test. People can be suspected
of carrying the disease, but diagnosis is only confirmed in post mortem
examinations of the brain.
- Although leading scientists believe it is carried in
the blood, currently there is no blood test that will expose it.
- The wasting disease attacks the brain, slowly eating
it away. Early symptoms include depression and unusual sensory sensations
like a sticky feeling to the skin.
- Victims, young and old, fall ill and over a matter of
months, slowly lose their sight, their hearing, and their minds. By the
time of death they can't move or speak. Since October 1996, variant CJD
has killed more than 90 people in Europe, more each successive year.
- Due to the growing concern, the FDA is meeting on Jan.
18 to consider expanding the blood ban from people who have lived in Europe.Canada
has already taken emergency action banning blood donations from people
who lived in France more than six months between 1980 and 1996.
- Dear Jeff,
- I sincerely hope you read this personally and post it
as an addendum to the below referenced article.
- I just read the article posted on your site "Stringent
Steps Taken To Keep Mad Cow Out Of US" by Sandra Blakesley of the
NY Times. In it she states "Mad cow disease and its human analogue,
the new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, have not been found to have
killed any cattle or been identified in people on this side of the Atlantic."
This is absolutely not true. It would appear Ms Blakesley has not done
adequate research on the subject, and visitors to your website and throughout
the country should know the truth.
- A relative of mine, who is a doctor at Tulane University
Medical School in New Orleans has first hand knowledge of a patient who
recently underwent surgery there. Apparantly, the attending physicians
and surgeons were unaware of the patient's condition (CJD). The medical
instruments used on this patient were then used on at least 6 others before
they were discovered to be infected. The instruments were properly AUTOCLAVED
AFTER EACH SURGERY, yet each subsequent patient had contracted CJD.
- So, there are AT LEAST seven confirmed cases in Louisiana
alone right now. This confirms that not only is CJD in the US, but it is
being misdiagnosed by medical professionals. I was a paramedic in the
'80s, and even back then we were taught about CJD and how it wastes the
Jeff Eck Union,
- Dear Jeff...
- Of course... this article is seriously incorrect about
the issue of CJD in the US. I ran the Tulane story when it broke and have
discussed it several times on the air. The Tulane story, however, only
discussed those six subsequent surgical patients to be AT RISK for CJD
infection. Since there is no test, there is no way such a diagnosis could
be achieved...especially only a few months after exposure to the instruments
deemed to have been infective. In another key story, 13% of Alzheimer's
victims in one group of nearly 70 fatalies who were autopsied were found
to have died of CJD. Have you seen my numerous calls for new universal
sterilization procedures in several recent Headline stories? The truth
of CJD in the US will, in time, come home to roost in the media. And it
will not be a pretty sight.
- Thanks for your note...
- Jeff Rense
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