- The suspected death
in northern Russia of a 29-year-old
man from a human form of mad cow
disease raised fears that efforts to contain
the deadly ailment may not
prevent its spread to other parts of the world.
- According to newspaper and wire
service reports, a merchant
seaman from the port city of Murmansk died
Monday from the brain-wasting
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the
human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE), also known as
"mad cow" disease.
- BSE, which leaves holes in the brains of infected
is believed to be transmitted when cattle eat fodder
parts of infected animals. BSE is also thought to
cause a form of CJD in
humans who ate meat from infected
- Russia Seen Unable to Fight
- "It is not the first case of CJD in Russia,"
the Murmansk region's chief medical officer was quoted as saying by Agence
France Presse, adding that the disease can be contracted in other ways
apart from eating contaminated beef.
- The news came only a day after
European Union took its
most drastic " and costly " measure
yet to stem panic over mad
cow disease by ordering a six-month ban on
almost all animal products in
- Russian consumers are already
aware of the BSE epidemic
and are concerned it may spread to their
country. There are laboratories
attached to many meat outlets where
shoppers can have their food tested.
But according to Russian newspaper
Izvestiya, there is no laboratory in
Russia that is able accurately to
determine whether or not BSE is present
- It is also feared that Russia,
struggling with a weak
economy and crumbling infrastructure, would be
unable to impose the sort
of tough restrictions on meat production and
distribution agreed by the
- The EU's six-month ban is
expected to cost $1.3 billion,
but the ministers hope it will help
return confidence in the beef industry.
- CJD Always
- BSE wasn't identified until 1986, but by the mid-1990s,
was seeing tens of thousands of cases a year.
- Then in 1996, a link was
established between BSE and
a human form of the disease, a progressive
crippling of the nervous system
always followed by death.
- Two people in France
and 80 in Britain have died from
the disease; 89 people across the EU
have been infected.
- The mad cow crisis reclaimed the spotlight two months
ago after an increase in French cases and reports that tainted beef might
have made it to supermarket shelves. It was exacerbated when the first
cases in Germany and Spain were recorded, further indications that current
measures to contain the disease were inadequate.
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