18 September 2000
Mother-to-baby vCJD ‘not proven’

By FWi staff

THERE is no evidence that the human form of BSE can be spread from mother to child, says a leading government advisor on the disease.

This follows concerns that an 11-month-old baby is showing symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which killed her mother earlier in the year.

Peter Smith of the governments Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) stressed that the possibility of maternal transmission cannot be ruled out.

However, no evidence of this had yet been found in vCJD or similar transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), he said

“We have no evidence of that as yet,” Professor Smith told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

“With other human TSEs there was no evidence of maternal transmission, but we certainly cant rule that out as a possibility.”

SEAC meets at the end of the month and will discuss any new data on maternal transmission.

It is widely believed that vCJD is contracted through eating BSE-infected beef.