07 December 1998
‘Fewer than 100 to die from CJD’

FEWER than 100 people will die from the human form of mad cow disease, according to scientists at City University, London.

The scientists, who have ruled out an epidemic, criticise Government policy as based on “worst-case conjectures” which have been hugely expensive for the taxpayer.

They calculate that only 4-15 lives will be saved by the billions of pounds spent since 1996 on BSE counter-measures, such as slaughtering all cattle over 30 months old.

The scientists, Philip Thomas and Martin Newby, have submitted their findings to the BSE Inquiry.

They forecast that the most likely number of deaths over the whole course of the disease is 87.

The calculations assume that the ban introduced on brain, spinal cord and other potentially infected cattle parts has been 70% effective in preventing such material from entering the human food chain.

The scientists calculate that no more than 26 people would have died over the course of the disease had the ban been 100% effective.

The research will be published next month in the British Food Journal.

  • The Times 0712/98 page 4