Donaldson CJD epidemic warning

22 December 1999

Donaldson CJD ‘epidemic’ warning

THE governments chief medical officer has admitted that an epidemic of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) could not be ruled out.

Professor Liam Donaldson said the diseases long incubation period meant scientists could not accurately predict the scale of the eventual problem.

He was speaking following the publication of research that comes closer to establishing a link between BSE and nvCJD.

It had been assumed that the 48 people who have so far died of nvCJD had caught the disease from BSE-infected beef.

Research from the University of California and the National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh comes close to proving this.

It shows nvCJD had the same incubation period as BSE and produced an identical pattern of brain damage.

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