- SALT LAKE CITY (CNN) -- Doug McEwen is dying, and his family and doctors are
helpless to save him.
- An illness known as Creutzfeld-Jakob
Disease is dissolving McEwen's brain. Doctors don't have a clue how McEwen
contracted the disease, which has taken his memory, his personality and
much of his voice.
- "You can't tell me how, and you
can't tell me why," McEwen's wife, Tracie, said.
- McEwen's speech is affected so badly
that his wife has to interpret for him. "Now sometimes, we'll go for
hours and he won't even look at me. I'll try and talk to him and he won't
answer me back," she said.
- Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease is a rare cousin
of Mad Cow disease. On average, it strikes one in a million people in the
United States each year. But it hit six victims in Utah alone last year
-- a rate three times higher than national figures.
- Traci McEwen says doctors are unsure
of how her husband, Doug, got the disease. "Some may say that is
just a coincidence, and it's likely that that is just a blip on the screen,"
said Dr. Kathleen Digre, a neurology professor at the University of Utah.
"But it is possible that there is some other factor playing a role."
- In another case, Ellie Steiner died from
the disease even before her doctors could diagnose what it was. "I
don't think we know how many of our people really have the disease,"
said her husband, Mel Steiner. "And that's what scares me."
- Among the possible factors under scrutiny
are game animals -- deer and elk in particular. McEwen was an avid hunter,
and scientists say wildlife in Colorado and Wyoming carry a chronic wasting
disease related to Mad Cow Disease.
- But there's no evidence, so far, that
eating wildlife transmits Crutzfeld-Jakob Disease: Scientists have yet
to prove even that CJD can be passed from animals to humans.
- The malady, nicknamed CJD, is so rare
that precious few scientists study it.
- "CJD and all diseases like it are
very mysterious," said Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety.
"We don't really understand how animals get them, we don't really
understand how they're transferred to people."
- With little more to learn from doctors,
Tracie McEwen awaits the only certainty she knows.
- "At this point to me, death will
be welcome because this is not how I want to remember my husband,"
- Human Gets 'Mad Cow Disease' From Eating
Deer Meat In Oklahoma?
- From bikebob <firstname.lastname@example.org HUMAN
- Just heard on the local (KMOX-TV, Ch.4)
news that a deer hunter from Miami, Oklahoma -- which is located just a
few miles west of the "Joplin 'Spook Light'" road site - has
been diagnosed with a confirmed case of human "Mad Cow" disease.
The brief report did not go into further delineate on the exact circumstances
by which he contracted the disease...but, of course, the assumption would
be from eating deer meat obtained from a local Miami, OK, deer kill.
- Bob S.