15 May 2001
Warning of ‘second wave’ of CJD

By FWi staff

ESTIMATES of the number of people infected by the human form of BSE may have to be revised upwards, warn scientists.

Research suggests that only those with the shortest incubation periods for the disease are showing symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

This suggests that a second wave of cases will emerge in time.

Projections have been based on view that the genetic make-up of some people make them unlikely to contract the disease.

But research from a team led by John Collinge, director of the Medical Research Council Prion Unit in London, disputes this.

It suggests that the people who have so far been affected by the disease may be those genetically disposed to have the shortest incubation periods.

The research is reported in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is widely believed that humans contracted vCJD through eating meat from cattle infected by BSE.

Ninety-nine cases of vCJD have been recorded to date in humans.

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