Test to predict how many will die of CJD

28 August 1998

Test to predict how many will die of CJD

TESTS on thousands of appendixes and tonsils in the UK are expected to offer researchers the data to make a prediction about how many people in the UK will die from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), the human equivalent of BSE.

The tests will be carried out on specimens of appendix and tonsils accumulated over the past two decades. They will be examined following the discovery that the agent responsible for the disease can be identified in the appendix before brain symptoms appear.

There have been 27 confirmed cases of CJD so far, but there is speculation that the final toll could run into thousands.

Sir Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer, said that the discovery of CJD in the appendix and the tonsil made it possible to explore how the disease develops, and measure its likely impact.

The discovery was made after a Devon coastguard died of CJD in July. His appendix had been removed some time before he displayed symptoms of CJD. It was later found to contain prion protein, an indication of infection by CJD.

  • The Times 28/08/98 page 2
  • The Independent 28/08/98 page 5, page 3 (Review)
  • Financial Times 28/08/98 page 6
  • The Guardian 28/08/98 page 3
  • The Daily Telegraph 28/08/98 page 1, page 10
  • The Herald 28/08/98 page 9

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