15 August 1997
CJD increase down to earlier non-diagnosis?
DOCTORS at the Governments Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh, said above-average incidence of the disease in UK farmers is probably unrelated to BSE in animals.
They said the increase in cases of CJD are probably due to more accurate diagnosis than a real change in incidence.
Dr Bob Will and his team report in the British Medical Journal that only further studies will disclose whether the agent causing BSE in cattle is responsible for the disease in people.
Deaths from all forms of CJD rose from about 10 in the early 1970s to about 40 this decade in England and Wales. There was no reported increase in Scotland after 1985.
The report says most of the extra deaths were in the 70-plus age group. It is likely that some cases of CJD in this age group were previously missed.