CDC Says 'No Mad Cow
Disease' In US...But Admits
There Could Be
(Note - When reading this story, one would do well to recall the tragic
history of how the CDC 'handled' the AIDS epidemic in America. Furthermore,
with deer and elk dropping dead of BSE in multiple states, it is wise
to recall the explanation given by one official as to how they became infected:
they ate cattle food put out in the fields for cows to eat. -ed)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - There is no evidence to date of the presence of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD)--the human version of ``mad cow'' disease--in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Then again, ``this is one world. People have traveled to the United Kingdom.... We are not 100% sure that a case of (nvCJD) will not arise in the future,'' CDC researcher Dr. Lawrence B. Schonberger told Reuters Health in an interview.
The CDC analyzed data concerning all cases of CJD that were diagnosed between 1979 and 1998 in the United States. During that time there were 4,751 deaths due to the disease, according to the report published in the November 8th issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (news - web sites).
This particular strain found in the US is an older strain of CJD and is not transmitted by eating beef as is suspected in the 'variant' CJD form that emerged in Britain in the 1990s.
``Although these illness have the same name, they are different diseases,'' Schonberger explained.
One difference that the CDC report identifies is that the average age of those infected in the US is 68 years, while in the UK the average age of infection is 27 years. And autopsies of the brains of those who have died reveal different types of lesions, suggesting a different mode of action between the two illnesses.
Both forms of CJD result in the formation of plaques that build up in the brain, resulting in loss of brain function and death. While the disease is not transmittable like a cold virus or a sexually transmitted disease, the US has asked people who spent more than 6 months in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996 to refrain from donating blood, Schonberger noted.
SOURCE: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2000;284:2322-

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