A New, Simple Test Could
Detect CJD - The Human
Form Of BSE/Mad Cow
By David Brown - Agriculture Editor, The Telegraph
A simple blood test which could enable doctors to diagnose victims of the human form of mad cow disease at an early stage has been developed by a team of scientists at King's College, London.
The test, which identifies antibodies to bacteria, has already been used accurately to identify BSE in cattle. Previously, the only sure way of confirming whether or not cattle had BSE was by post mortem examination of the brain. So far 74 people have died from new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which has been linked to BSE. Another eight are believed to be dying from the disease.
Details of the new test will be described in America next week by Alan Ebringer, Professor of Immunology at King's College, who says it supports his theory that BSE was caused by Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, a bacterium common in the environment.
All of the diseased cattle tested had high levels of antibodies to Acinetobacter calcoaceticus in their blood. This bacterium is commonly found in animal faeces, sewage, contaminated water and the soil. Prof Ebringer argues that the BSE epidemic started when large amounts of this bacterium damaged the auto-immune system of cattle after they were fed rations containing the processed remains of the intestines of sheep and other animals.
According to his theory, a general lowering of temperatures in the animal rendering process in Britain allowed the bacteria to survive.
Suspected cases of BSE in Britain have fallen to about 30 a week, compared with more than 1,000 cases a week at the peak of the epidemic in 1993, the Ministry of Agriculture reported yesterday.

This Site Served by TheHostPros