Just when you thought CJD was capable of containment:
Proof Mad Cow Is The Same As Alzheimer's And CJD - How Many Of Them Are Really Mad Cow/vCJD/TSEs How Can Government Claims Of Just 'One In A Million' Be Accurate When CJD Is Not A Reportable Disease? And When The Elderly Do Not Get Routinely Autopsied??
Finally the following article may be seen as relevant but it is remarkable that the results of the research never made the headlines:
Clusters Of CJD-Killed Clusters Of Deer/Elk Hunters Sydney Morning Herald 12-27-03
An epidemic of a deer and elk disease is sweeping across North America with echoes of Britain's continuing mad cow disaster. Jennifer Cooke reports that unusual deaths in hunters and venison eaters are under scrutiny.
When the first report of the cluster of deaths from an extremely rare brain disease was reported two years ago, researchers and public health officials around the world took note. Three "unusually" young people, according to the authors of a 2001 report in the Archives of Neurology, two just 28 and the other 30, had died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
But it was what they ate that attracted most attention. Two of them were hunters and the third, the daughter of one. All had been known to eat deer and elk.
This year's February 21 issue of the US Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report told of three men who had taken part in the same game feasts throughout the 1980s, all of whom died of a progressive neurological disorder, two in 1993 and the third in 1999.
Two of the deaths were initially confirmed as CJD, but retesting last year ruled out one CJD diagnosis. However, the report admitted to a less than ideal investigation going back two decades and ended with the caveat: "Limited epidemiologic investigations cannot rule out the possibility that CWD might play a role in causing human illness."
Last month yet another odd cluster of CJD deaths was presented - at the annual general meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Hawaii. All three were deer and elk hunters, two hunted together and lived in the same town, in Washington state. The third was from Alaska, presumably unrelated. "We are trying to raise the issue," Ali Samii, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Washington Medical School, and one of the authors of the report, told the conference. Lifestyle questions were paramount for doctors suspecting a prion disease, he said. They should not merely ask about travel to Europe but about "what they [patients] do". And what they eat.
Excerpted from an article originally published May 14, 2003.
Meat Of Mad Cow Now Found In Eight States And Guam By Richard Cowan 12-28-03
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials, grappling to control the mad-cow crisis, on Sunday expanded the recall of more than 10,000 pounds of beef to eight mostly western states and Guam.
While federal investigators cautioned the hunt for beef linked to a Washington state cow diagnosed with the deadly mad cow disease was at an early stage, a high-ranking USDA official called on foreign countries to end their ban on U.S. beef.
A recall of the beef, which had been underway in Washington state, Oregon, California and Nevada, was expanded to Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho and Guam, the USDA said.
The 10,000 pounds of beef represents meat from 20 animals, including the sick cow, that were slaughtered at a Washington state facility on Dec. 9.
That meat has since been distributed to stores and some of it possibly has been consumed.
The USDA reported no further progress Sunday toward identifying the birth herd of the Washington state cow, following information on Saturday that the animal may have come from Canada.
Most major importers, including Japan, Mexico and South Korea, have sealed their borders to American beef and cattle. A USDA team is in Japan to try to persuade Tokyo that U.S. beef is safe to eat and that adequate safeguards are in place to control the spread of the animal brain-wasting disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
"We think that the restrictions that are being imposed should be lifted," said Ron DeHaven, the U.S Department of Agriculture's chief veterinarian.
"Unfortunately, with this situation, what we've seen internationally is again an overreaction, (with) trade restrictions imposed more out of public perception than based on the science of what we know about this particular disease," DeHaven told reporters.
The first U.S. case of mad cow disease could cost the cattle and beef industry billions of dollars in United States.
The U.S. exports about $3 billion worth of beef a year. A change in consumer sentiment, on top of the trade bans, would further damage the $175 billion industry made up of more than 1 million businesses, farms and ranches.
Still unclear is whether American consumers will stop eating beef out of fears they could contract a human variant of mad cow disease. An outbreak of BSE in Europe more than a decade ago resulted in 137 human deaths, mostly in Britain. British farmers destroyed some 3.7 million cattle because of the outbreak.
McDonald's Corp. (MCD.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , the largest U.S. hamburger chain, on Saturday said the crisis has had no impact on sales of its beef products. It did not provide specific sales figures, however.
Attempting to demonstrate that it is being overly cautious, the USDA said it expanded the beef recall despite the fact that the meat presented "virtually zero" risk. DeHaven said the beef included none of the brain, spinal cord or other risky tissues that carry mad cow disease.
Scientists believe the cow may have contracted mad cow disease from contaminated feed when it was young.
DeHaven said a small silver ear tag linked to the cow "suggests that tag would have been applied in Canada."
But Canadian and American officials said they won't know for sure until DNA tests are run using tissue samples from the sickened cow.
DeHaven said Canada has obtained a semen sample from "what is believed to be the sire of this infected cow." By comparing DNA samples from both sides of the border, "We should be able to make a firm determination" on where the Holstein cow was born, he said.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860
"In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, breathe the same air, and we all cherish our children’s future."
Cow Parts Used in Candles, Soaps Recalled By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Cow parts - including hooves, bones, fat and innards - are used in everything from hand cream and antifreeze to poultry feed and gardening soils.
In the next tangled phase of the mad cow investigation, federal inspectors are concentrating on byproducts from the tainted Holstein, which might have gone to a half-dozen distributors in the Northwest, said Dalton Hobbs, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Now, it's the secondary parts, the raw material for soil, soaps and candles, that are being recalled.
While some people fear consumers could be infected by inhaling particles of fertilizer or other products containing the mutated protein responsible for mad cow disease, a bigger concern is stopping tainted byproducts from infecting animal feed, believed to be the main agent for spreading the disease.
But tracing all of the sick cow's parts to their final destination, including numerous possible incarnations in household products, has proved challenging.
``It's like the old Upton Sinclair line - 'We use everything but the squeal,''' Hobbs said. ``We have nearly 100 percent utilization of the animal. But when you have so many niche markets, it makes it incredibly challenging to trace where this one cow may have gone.''
Los Angeles-based Baker Commodities, Inc., announced Friday it has voluntarily withheld 800 tons of cow byproduct processed in its Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., plants. The company, like other ``renderers,'' takes what is left of the cow after it is slaughtered and boils it down into tallow, used for candles, lubricants and soaps, and bone meal used in fertilizer and animal feed.
If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determines that the material is tainted, the company's loss could total $200,000, said spokesman Ray Kelly.
``It's obviously a tragic thing for the whole beef industry, but it's definitely a sizable hit for us,'' he said.
Darling International, Inc., the nation's largest independent rendering operation in the U.S., has also been contacted by the FDA. But officials at their Tacoma and Portland plants, as well as at their international headquarters in Irving, Texas, declined to comment on how their operation has been affected.
``Our first priority was to make sure it didn't go into the food supply,'' said Hobbs, reiterating that meat sent to two Oregon distributors was recalled earlier in the week.
Companies that use bone meal from cows to create fertilizers popular with rose growers may find themselves under the spotlight. At the height of Britain's mad cow epidemic in the 1990s, three victims of the human form of mad cow were found to be gardeners.
In 1996, the Royal Horticultural Society of London released an advisory, cautioning gardeners to wear face masks after it was reported that the dust from the bone-meal soil could carry the mutated protein.
But Scientific American editor Philip Yam said there was no conclusive evidence the gardeners died from inhaling soil containing the infected cow tissue.
A far greater risk is the cow material - including roughage and offal - used in animal feed, said Yam, whose book, ``The Pathological Protein,'' is a scientific account of the disease.
In 1997, the FDA banned cow feed that included cow byproducts, after scientists concluded that the feed was the main transmitter of mad cow disease. The disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is found in a cow's nervous system.
Yam points out that while giving cow feed to cows was outlawed, feeding it to poultry is still legal. Some farmers, he said, are still in the habit of feeding their cows ``chicken litter'' - the remains of the poultry feed, scooped off the ground, feathers and all.
``It's one of those loopholes,'' Yam said. ``It sounds good in theory - don't feed cow to cow, feed the remains to chickens. But in practice things happen.''
Critics also speculate that while chickens cannot contract BSE, they could act as carriers of the disease if they pick up prions in their feed and are themselves processed into cattle feed. Consumer advocates have also questioned whether feed processing plants have all strictly separated cow feed from other feed produced at the same facilities.
The Food and Drug Administration has said it will probably write new regulations that could require companies that slaughter ``downer'' livestock - animals that are sick or injured - to dispose of the brain and spinal cord before mixing animal feed and pet food, expanding on the 1997 ban.
Robert Assali, who manages Southern Oregon Tallow in Eagle Point, Ore., said he sees the end of his profession if the mad cow hype continues.
``We're going to become a mortuary service - just hauling animals to landfills,'' Assali said.
This article would be funny if it wasn't so serious:
They May Not Even Have The Right Cow! By Dawn Walton and Patrick Brethour The Globe and Mail 12-29-03
Calgary -- News that the Washington-state Holstein with mad-cow disease was almost certainly born at an Alberta dairy farm is likely to prolong the U.S. ban on imports of Canadian cattle.
Canada's chief veterinarian, however, warned yesterday that feed contaminated in the United States could have infected the animal.
Ron DeHaven, chief veterinarian for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggested yesterday that if investigators confirm the Holstein came from a dairy farm near Edmonton, Canada's hopes of moving live cattle and more beef products over the border by early next year could be damaged.
The United States is accepting public input until Jan. 5 on a new rule that could allow animals under 30 months of age into the country, further easing a U.S. ban on all beef products and live cattle from Canada that was put in place after BSE was confirmed in an Alberta cow in May.
"Clearly, we would have to take into account this new situation... as we review those comments and consider whether or not to publish a final rule," Dr. DeHaven said.
Over the weekend, the U.S. National Cattlemen's Beef Association called for an "indefinite extension" on that public-input period until the investigation is complete. DNA tests will reveal this week whether the Holstein with bovine spongiform encephalopathy was born in Alberta.
"Officials on both sides of the border are seeking only one thing and that is the truth," Dr. DeHaven said. "We want to know exactly where this animal came from and whether that turns out to be of U.S. origin or of Canadian origin. We'll let the chips fall as they may and call them as they are."
Canada's beef industry has lost $1.6-billion in exports since the first case of BSE was discovered in a Black Angus in May, although Washington allowed the sale of Canadian beef products to resume in September. Ottawa had been pushing for the ban to be further eased in the new year.
Canada's chief veterinarian, Brian Evans of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said yesterday that the Holstein could have eaten feed contaminated in the United States. The Alberta farmer kept "meticulous" records about breeding and feed dating back 40 years, he said.
According to two ear identification tags (one metal, one plastic) and the farmer's records, the suspect cow was born April 4, 1997, and sold along with 73 other milking cows - the bulk of a 84-head herd - to a buyer in the United States in the summer of 2001. DNA tests are being conducted on relatives, including the semen of the bull believed to be the cow's father, for final confirmation.
U.S. records list a younger age for the cow, perhaps four to 4-1/2 years.
The farmer, forced to retire because of failing health, harvested his own grain for his livestock, but sent it to an undisclosed feed mill for mixing. Many feed mills at the time turned to U.S. suppliers for protein-based material to add to the mix.
In August of 1997, four months after the sick cow is believed to have been born, according to the farmer's records, both Canada and the United States instituted a ban on feeding material from ruminants, or cud-chewing animals, to other ruminants since feed contaminated with products from sick animals was ruled the most likely source of BSE infection.
The Edmonton area farmer was in "full compliance" once the feed ban was adopted and does not appear to have personally added ruminant material to his feed mix, Dr. Evans said. "Nothing he was doing was illegal at that time," he said.
The feed mill is tracing its records for exposure to potentially deadly U.S. feed, as well as trying to determine whether its production line was properly cleaned before ruminant feed hit the line.
Stephen Sundlof, head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said a "very small dose" of contaminated material - half a gram - can infect cattle, especially calves.
The news is making Canadian cattlemen nervous that a second blow is about to strike the industry. The first case of BSE in May caused the sharp plunge in exports and depressed domestic prices.
"I don't know what's going on any more," said Ronald Molter, owner of a cattle ranch near Stonewall, Man. "First the cow is from the States. Now it's from Canada. All I know is that we have a big problem and now it's gotten worse."
Ted Haney, president of the Canada Beef Export Federation, said any extension of the ban on live-cattle shipments could not be justified on purely scientific grounds, noting that Canada continues to allow some animals from the United States to be sent northward.
Any move to keep the U.S. border shut for political reasons would backfire, as it would hand other trading partners all the justification they need for "Draconian overreactions" to exclude U.S. beef, he said.
Reacting to the request of the U.S. beef industry for an indefinite delay in the process to reopen the border, Mr. Haney said: "Frustration and disappointment have been a constant companion over the last seven months."
A U.S. recall of beef has been extended as officials revealed yesterday that meat from the diseased cow had been sent to Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and the territory of Guam. Previously, officials had said much of the meat wound up in Washington and Oregon, with smaller amounts in California and Nevada. Ken Petersen of the USDA's food safety inspection service described the risk to consumers as "very, very low."
The infected cow entered the United States through Idaho in the summer of 2001 and landed in a dairy operation in Mattawa, Wash. In October of 2001, it was sold to a farm in Mabton, Wash., which in turn sent it to slaughter this month after it was injured giving birth.
U.S. officials are tracing the whereabouts of the 73 other animals believed to have entered the United States with the infected cow, as well as its calves. One of those calves is still on the quarantined farm in Mabton. A bull calf was sold to a farm in Sunnyside, Wash., but was untagged. As a result, the farm has been quarantined and every bull calf under 30 days of age there will be slaughtered.
Canadian officials are tracing a single living calf that is believed still to be in Canada.
Canadian ranchers questioned whether the infected animal - one of three downer cows sent for testing that day from that slaughterhouse, according to the USDA - had been identified correctly.
Mr. Haney said the metal tag in the cow's ear had matched Canadian records and was difficult to tamper with, but noted that "there are inconsistencies in the physical description of the animal."
Rancher Erik Butters had a more blunt assessment, saying he believes the animal could have been mistaken for another of the 19 animals slaughtered at the same meat-packing plant that day.
"Did they keep 40 ears or 20 heads? Did a tag get mixed up?"
CO Health Dept. Chief MD Warns Mad Cow In Blood Animals With Neurologic Disease Shouldn't Be Eaten By Richard L. Vogt, MD 12-30-3
Regarding recent articles on mad cow disease, this is a serious public health situation that needs immediate attention by regulatory officials.
Reports state that the meat from the suspect infected animal proceeded to enter the human food chain, but the nervous-system tissue did not. Since the infectious agents of mad cow disease - also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - are not only isolated in the nervous tissue of animals but also in lymphatic tissue that occurs throughout the body of all animals, it would be prudent to enact an emergency rule to refrain from sending to market all meat from animals that have neurologic disease.
The U.S. Senate passed such a ban, but the legislation was previously hung up in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is now time to immediately revisit this issue in the interest of public health.
Richard L. Vogt, MD Executive Director Tri-County Health Department Greenwood Village
This health crisis is generating all types of responses:
Time To Get Serious, Mr. Bush 12-29-03
The USDA pledged to the American public on multiple occasions that it had increased the testing of slaughtered cows for BSE from 1% to 3% per year. 35 million cattle are slaughtered annually. 3% is 1,050,000 animals. The USDA/FDA now admits it tested only '20,500' cattle last year. This constitutes a flagrant criminal felony and gross felony public endangerment. I call upon the President to immediately act by terminating the entire top level administration of both the USDA and the FDA. I further call upon the Congress to hold immediate hearings into the policies of lies, betrayal and deceit of these agencies in terms of its mad cow/BSE policies and programs which have endangered the lives of countless American citizens.
Felony criminal indictments must immediately be sought by the Congress and grand juries throughout the nation against all key current - and former - federal appointees and employees in these agencies who have had anything to do with the setting and implementing of government policy regarding the testing of beef and dairy cattle for mad cow/BSE; for their failure to adequately enforce of the ban on feeding ruminants to other ruminates; and for approving the insane policy of the continued feeding of cattle blood to beef and dairy calves, and pigs and poultry in the US.
The British government lied to its citizens about Mad Cow for years and scores of its people died hideous deaths. And more will die in the months and years to come. Yet no one...not a single government official... has been held accountable. If America is to survive, it must rediscover the term 'accountability', it must put a stop to Federal employee and government agency lying, and it must begin to hold all government officials, elected and otherwise, fully responsible for their lies, deceit, incompetence and misdeeds. Too many Americans have died from CJD already... many more are dying now. A reasonable estimate of 10% of Alzheimer's deaths are the result of Mad Cow/CJD. With up to 400,000 new 'Alzheimer's cases' annually, the sacrificing of Americans on the alter of blood money, - beef blood money - must end...now.
If America is to somehow survive as a viable Republic with a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, it must act NOW to put an end to anti-human and inhuman dishonesty and corruption by what now passes for our national government and its agencies.
Alzheimer's And CJD Scientifically Linked By Michael Greger 12-29-03
(First published 6-16-96)
If indeed a form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) exists in the United States, one might expect to see a rise in the number of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). CJD, however, is not a reportable illness in this country (Holman, 1995). Because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not actively monitor the disease (Altman, 1996d) a rise similar to the one in Britain could be missed (Altman, 1996d). Already, a number of U.S. CJD clusters have been found. In the largest known U.S. outbreak of sporadic cases to date(Flannery, 1996) a five-fold expected rate was found to be associated with cheese consumption in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley (Little, 1993) A striking increase in CJD was also reported in Florida (Berger, 1994) and there is an anecdotal report of an cluster in Oregon (Boule, 1996). An analysis of death certificates in a number of states, though, showed an overall stable and typical CJD incidence rate from 1979 to 1993 (World, 1996). To track the disease, the CDC has just initiated a four-state study of death certificates (Altman, 1996a), but since it is considered well known that death-certificate diagnoses are not always accurate (Davanpour, 1993) the survey may not provide an accurate assessment.
The true prevalence of prion diseases in this or any other country remains a mystery (Harrison, 1991). Compounding the uncertainty, autopsies are rarely performed on atypical dementias (Harrison, 1991), because medical professionals fear infection (Altman, 1996a). The officially reported rate in this country is less than 1 case in a million people per year (World, 1996). An informal survey of neuropathologists, however, registered a theoretical range of 2-12% of all dementias as actually CJD (Harrison, 1991). And hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from severe dementias every year (Brayne, 1994; United, 1995). Two other studies average about a 3% CJD rate among dementia patients (Mahendra, 1987; Wade, 1987). A preliminary 1989 University of Pennsylvania study showed that 5% of patients diagnosed with dementia were actually dying from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (Boller, 1989). It would seem CJD is seriously underdiagnosed at present (Harrison, 1991).
The most common misdiagnosis of CJD is Alzheimer's disease (Harrison, 1991). CJD was even described by our government's top CJD researcher (Wlazelek, 1990a) as "Alzheimer's in fast forward (Wlazelek, 1990b)." The symptoms and pathology of both diseases overlap (Brown, 1989). There can be spongy changes in Alzheimer's, for example, and senile plaques in CJD (Brown, 1989). The causes may overlap as well; epidemiological evidence suggests that people eating meat more than four times a week for a prolonged period have a three times higher chance of suffering a dementia than long-time vegetarians (Giem, 1993), although this result may be confounded by vascular factors (Van Duijn, 1996).
Paul Brown, medical director for the U.S. Public Health Service (Gruzen, 1996), said that the brains of the young people who died from the new CJD variant in Britain even look like Alzheimer's brains (Hager, 1996). Stanley Prusinger, the scientist who coined the term prion, speculates Alzheimer's may in fact turn out to be a prion disease (Prusiner, 1984). In younger victims the disease could look like multiple sclerosis or a severe viral infection, according to Alzheimer's expert Gareth Roberts (Brain, 1996).
An estimated two to three million Americans are afflicted by Alzheimer's (Scully, 1993); it is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly in the U.S (Perry, 1995). Twenty percent or more of people clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are found at autopsy to not have had Alzheimer's at all (McKhann, 1984). At Yale, out of 46 patients clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's, 6 were proven to be CJD at autopsy (Manuelidis, 1989). In another post-mortem study 3 out of 12 "Alzheimer" patients actually died from a spongiform encephalopathy (Teixeira, 1995).
Carleton Gajdusek, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work with prion diseases (Manuelidis, 1985), estimates that 1% of people showing up in Alzheimer clinics actually have CJD (Folstein, 1983). That means that hundreds of people (Hoyert, 1996; United, 1995) may already be dying from mad cow disease each year in the United States.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860
"In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, breathe the same air, and we all cherish our children’s future."
Berger, Joseph R., et al. "Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: A Ten-Year Experience." Neurology, 44 (1994): A260.
Bleifuss, Joel. "Killer Beef." In These Times, 31 May 1993: 12-15.
Boller, F., O. L. Lopez, and J. Moossy. "Diagnosis of Dementia." Neurology, 38 (1989): 76-79.
Boule, Margie. "Despite Anectdotal Evidence, Docs Say No Mad Cow Disease Here." Oregonian, 16 April 1996: C01.
"Brain Disease May Be Commoner Than Thought - Expert." Reuter Information Service, 15 May 1996.
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Davanpour, Zoreth, et al. "Rate of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in USA." Neurology, 43 (1993): A316.
Flannery, Mary. "Twelve - Fifteen 'Mad Cow' Victims a Year in Area." Philadelphia Daily News, 26 March 1996: 03.
Folstein, M. "The Cognitive Pattern of Familial Alzheimer's Disease." Biological Aspects of Alzheimer's Disease. Ed. R. Katzman. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1983.
Gruzen, Tara. "Sheep Parts Fail to Cause Mad Cow Disease in U. S. Test." Seattle Times, 29 March 1996: A11.
Hager, Mary and Mark Hosenball. "'Mad Cow Disease' in the U.S.?" Newsweek, 8 April 1996:58-59.
Harrison, Paul J., and Gareth W. Roberts. "'Life, Jim, But Not as We Know It'? Transmissible Dementias and the Prion Protein." British Journal of Psychiatry, 158 (1991): 457-70.
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Hoyert, Donna L. "Vital and Health Statistics. Mortality Trends for Alzheimer's Disease, 1979-1991." Washington: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996.
Little, Brian W., et al. "The Epidemiology of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in Eastern Pennsylvania." Neurology, 43 (1993): A316.
Mahendra, B. Dementia, Lancaster: MTP Press Limited, 1987: 174.
Manuelidis, Elias E. "Presidential Address." Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 44 (1985): 1-17.
Manuelidis, Elias E. and Laura Manuelidis. "Suggested Links between Different Types of Dementias: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Alzheimer Disease, and Retroviral CNS Infections." Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 2 (1989): 100-109.
McKhann, Guy., et al. "Clinical Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease." Neurology, 34 (1984): 939.
Prusiner, S. "Some Speculations about Prions, Amyloid, and Alzheimer's Disease." New England Journal of Medicine, 310 (1984): 661-663.
Perry, R.T., et al. "Human Prion Protein Gene: Two Different 24 BP Deletions in an Atypical Alzheimer's Disease Family." American Journal of Medical Genetics, 60 (1995): 12-18.
Scully, R. E., et al. "Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital." New England Journal of Medicine, 29 April 1993: 1259-1263.
Teixeira, F., et al. "Clinico-Pathological Correlation in Dementias." Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 20 (1995): 276-282.
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Van Duijn, C. M. "Epidemiology of the Dementia: Recent Developments and New Approaches." Neuroepidemiology, 60 (1996): 478-488.
Van Duijn, C. M. "Epidemiology of the Dementia: Recent Developments and New Approaches." Neuroepidemiology, 60 (1996): 478-488.
Wade, J. P. H., et al. "The Clinical Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease." Archives of Neurology, 44 (1987): 24-29.
Wlazelek, Ann. "Fatal Brain Disease Mystifies Experts." Morning Call, 23 September 1990a: B01.
Wlazelek, Ann. "Scientists Try to Track Fatal Disease; International Expert Visits Area to Study Unusual Incedence Rate." Morning Call, 27 September 1990b: B04.
"World Health Organization Consultatoin on Public Health Issues Related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the Emergence of a New Variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.", Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 12 April 1996: 295-303.
USDA Sees 'Little Benefit' In Testing All Sick Cows (!) By Randy Fabi 12-31-3
if all sick cattle were tested. This is getting to be more ridiculous by the day. -ed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials, faced with the first case of mad cow disease on American soil, said on Monday testing all injured or sick cattle for the brain-wasting disease would do little to strengthen food safety.
Kenneth Petersen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service told reporters that increasing mad cow testing to cover all injured or sick cattle "doesn't appear to be prudent, from at least a food safety standpoint."
Some cattle arrive for slaughter with broken bones that are "extremely localized" and do not affect the quality of their meat, he said.
The USDA's enforcement of food safety regulations has come under scrutiny since it reported last week that a Washington state dairy cow had mad cow disease. The cow was unable to walk when it arrived for slaughter.
The industry has estimated there are about 195,000 downer cattle -- those unable to walk because of broken bones, disease or sickness -- out of a total 36 million cattle slaughtered in the United States each year.
The USDA this year tested more than 20,000 cattle brains for mad cow disease, and plans to nearly double that in 2004.
Note - More absurdity. 35 million cattle are slaughtered each year for food. So, the fabulous USDA 'plans' to 'nearly double' the fly speck number of 20,000 they claim to test annually. What a fabulous gesture of concern for the public welfare, eh? -ed.
McDonald's Corp. and Wendy's International Inc. prohibit the use of downer cattle in their hamburgers.
The Consumer Federation of America has endorsed mad cow testing of all downer cattle. So have the industry-funded Food Marketing Institute and the National Restaurant Association.
The White House has publicly defended the USDA's food safety procedures. Privately, Bush administration officials have said that if the U.S. case is linked to a Canadian herd in Alberta, where a mad cow case was discovered in May, there may be little or no need to make any regulatory changes.
However, USDA officials said they were "seriously considering" increased testing and a "test and hold" program for downer cattle to strengthen its mad cow safeguards.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in a reversal of its previous views, has endorsed a "test and hold" program that segregates the carcasses of injured cattle from others until they could be tested for mad cow disease.
NEED RAPID TESTING
To increase mad cow testing, the USDA would probably have to switch to using rapid diagnostic test kits, industry officials said.
"My guess is that USDA would need to use one of the more rapid tests to be able to increase testing," said Rosemary Mucklow, the director of the National Meat Association.
Despite the existence of mad cow tests that take only a few hours, the USDA prefers to use what it calls a "gold standard" diagnostic test that can take as long as five days to complete. That, plus a one-week delay while the tissue sample sat in a laboratory, are why it took the USDA two weeks to determine that the Washington cow had contracted mad cow disease.
Sen. Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican who heads the Senate Agriculture Committee, is not pressing for any immediate changes in USDA procedures, a spokesman said. Adopting faster tests to detect mad cow disease could carry the potential for false positive results, he said.
USDA Bans Downer Cattle For Human Food By Charles Abbott and Randy Fabi 12-30-3
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government said on Tuesday it was moving immediately to tighten oversight of the $27 billion cattle industry and boost consumer confidence after the first case of mad cow disease in the United States.
The moves -- some now endorsed by a once-reluctant industry that is still reeling from the sudden loss of a $3 billion a year beef export market -- came after a fourth straight day of sharply lower cattle prices in U.S. markets.
The USDA is investigating the cause of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The USDA announced on Dec. 23 that the disease was found in a Holstein dairy cow in Washington state.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told a press conference that the U.S. government is immediately banning downer cattle -- animals unable to walk on their own at the slaughter plant -- from being used as food for humans.
"The actions we are taking today are steps to enact additional safeguards to protect the public health," she said. As a precaution, Veneman said, processors would be barred from using the brains, eyes and small intestine of older cattle in human food. Another new regulation seeks to keep spinal tissue out of meat products via "meat recovery systems" that scrape tiny bits of meat off a carcass.
The USDA will work to create an identification system for tracing animals and create an international panel of scientists to review the department's response to the mad cow case.
"This is a rational response to a situation that has now reached a new plane," said Bob Price, president of North America Risk Management Services, a livestock consultancy in Chicago.
Analyst Bob Anderson at Commodity Services Inc., a Des Moines, Iowa, brokerage, said "withholding meat from the food chain from any suspicious cattle is a step forward."
"The identification to trace the cattle, I'm all in favor of that. I don't see anything onerous in what USDA has proposed and I think it would be in the cattlemen's best interest to fully support it," he said.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in a policy shift after the Dec. 23 announcement, backed a "test and hold" stance for suspicious cattle like "downer" animals.
Out of 35 million cattle slaughtered each year in the United States, an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 are downer cattle.
Veneman said the USDA moves will not "cost the USDA significant amounts of money or for that matter the industry significant amounts of money."
The USDA is trying to eliminate possible contamination of meat supplies by neural tissues thought most suspect in carrying the misshapen proteins that characterize bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.
BSE is a fatal ailment that destroys the brains of infected cattle. Humans contract a form of the disease known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease by eating tissue from the brains, spinal cords or central nervous systems of infected animals.
At least 137 people died from the human variant after mad cow disease struck herds in Britain and Europe a decade ago.
USDA officials believe the infected cow came from Canada. The animal apparently was born in April 1997, a few months before both nations banned the use of cattle remains as an ingredient in cattle rations.
McDonald's Corp., Burger King and other hamburger chains said on Monday that consumer beef demand appeared unaffected so far by the mad cow scare.
But on Tuesday February live cattle futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange still closed down the 5.00-cents per pound daily trading limit at 76.175 cents.
Cattle prices are about 14 percent below the levels traded before the Dec. 23 announcement of the mad cow case.
With the U.S. presidential election less than a year away, Democrats this week began calling for revival of a Senate proposal to ban U.S. downer cattle.
"We shouldn't have to play Sherlock Holmes to find out how much meat comes from cows who might have been exposed to mad cow," Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer said on Tuesday.
"But we have no choice because the meat industry continues to fight giving the USDA the ability to track the U.S. meat supply and other common sense measures," he said.
South Korea, Japan, Mexico and two dozen other world customers stopped buying U.S. beef after the mad cow diagnosis was made public last week. Those supplies -- about 10 percent of U.S. annual production -- may swamp the U.S. market and push beef prices lower.
US Estimates Mad Cow Exposure At 81 Cattle Dow Jones Newswires 12-30-3
Federal investigators increased to 81 the number of cattle now roaming the U.S. that may have been exposed to mad-cow disease, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported.
Yet even the 81 figure isn't complete. Many of these cattle presumably have given birth since entering the U.S., at least some of which came in a group thought to include the Washington state Holstein that was found last week to have been infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as BSE, or mad-cow disease. Previously, federal investigators said 73 dairy cattle had come into the U.S. in August 2001 from the same herd in Canada's Alberta provence that is thought to have been the original home of the infected Holstein.
Investigators hope to find and screen those cattle for BSE, which creates holes in the brains of infected cattle. By eating contaminated beef products, people can catch a similar form of the affliction, known as variant Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease.
The federal government's ability to quickly control the fallout from the nation's first case of mad-cow disease is being complicated by poor record keeping of cattle shipments and the inexperience of U.S. officials, who never have had to deal with a mad-cow discovery, agricultural experts say.
Indeed, a week into the federal government's search for the source of this mad-cow case, investigators have just managed to confirm the age of the infected cow at its slaughter -- 6 1/2 years -- which is crucial to figuring how long ago it might have been infected. The mad-cow disease can incubate silently for three to six years.
U.S. officials said Monday that investigators still aren't certain whether the infected cow came from Canada and have yet to recover the vast majority of meat from the sick animal, which was slaughtered Dec. 9 at a small Moses Lake, Wash., meatpacker. Meat from the cow was mixed with the meat of 19 other cattle killed at the plant that day and eventually shipped to more than 40 businesses in eight states and Guam. Officials believe most of the meat is in Oregon and Washington state.
The lack of hard information is hurting the U.S.'s ability to persuade about two dozen trade partners to lift the bans on U.S. beef that they imposed after the mad-cow finding. A U.S. trade delegation sent to Tokyo to reopen beef sales was immediately rebuffed Monday by Japanese officials, who said the U.S. government doesn't yet have the facts Japan needs to decide whether it is safe to drop the ban on U.S. beef imports.
Trade experts believe that many of the nations that have banned U.S. beef imports because of the mad-cow discovery won't make a move until they see what is done by Japan, which is the biggest importer of U.S. beef, spending roughly $ 1 billion annually.
Wall Street Journal Staff Reporter Scott Kilman contributed to this report.
Mad Cow Impacts Entire US Food Supply Big Agribusiness Disease By Geov Parrish WorkingForChange.com 1-4-4
The confirmation last week of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- mad cow disease -- in a dairy cow outside the town of Mabton in Central Washington has sent the US beef industry into a tailspin. Industry spokespeople and the USDA have scrambled to reassure consumers that the country's beef is safe and that the chances are extremely low of any humans contracting the debilitating and fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD, the human form of spongiform encephalopathy). Nonetheless, so far at least 28 countries have suspended the import of US beef, and the public remains skeptical.
As we should. It's true that the chances of contracting CJD are remote at this point -- but its discovery in the US, 15 years after a mad cow epidemic ravaged Britain, is an indicator of much deeper problems.
The Mabton cow came from a large, mechanized operation, with 4,100 cows. It's a far cry from the family dairy farms of old, which for simple logistical reasons couldn't support more than a couple dozen head. My colleague at Eat the State!, Maria Tomchick, grew up on a family-owned dairy farm a quarter century ago; she ticks off the differences that come with a large, mechanized operation, of the sort big agribusiness now routinely runs.
In 2002, there were some 96 million cattle living in America, virtually the same number as in 1960 -- but on only half as many farms. Maria's parents sold their farm 20 years ago. Once there were nearly 10 million farms in a country of only 100 million; today, with 300 million people, there are only about 2 million farms. Mechanization has made the farms larger even as it has helped depopulate rural America.
It almost goes without saying that this sort of factory farming is cruel to the animals, and leaves animals far more prone to disease. The machines themselves can be vectors of cross-contamination, both when dairy cows are alive (milking) and when any type of cow is being rendered. It also means the cows aren't individual animals -- they're cogs in a machine, milked and slaughtered on an exact schedule. A dairy cow, in years back, usually lived 15 or so years on a farm; now, they're slaughtered for meat at age four, sooner if they're sick or a "downer" cow -- a cow that cannot stand or walk easily on its own due to disease or injury.
The initial symptoms of BSE only emerge, and are testable, four or five years after contamination. Many of the cows that wind up in our nation's food supply are slaughtered before any symptoms of BSE could appear. There could easily be any number of past instances of contaminated meat making its way to food distributors -- as happened last week before the Mabton cow's test results came in and a recall was issued.
If that's not scary enough, consider what happens to "downer" cows. Their meat does not go into the human food supply -- but the diseases that felled them can. The cows' meat is instead mixed in with grain (for extra protein) and fed to chickens, on the reasoning that viruses, bacteria, and the prions that carry BSE don't affect chickens' digestive systems. Assuming that's true, it goes straight through the birds instead -- into their manure, which is then used by many organic farming operations as a fertilizer. Remember that, vegetarians, and vegans, the next time you eat carrots or potatoes without peeling them.
Regulators are having a hard time figuring out where, exactly, the Mabton cow came from in its life's journey. It had apparently been born in Canada, sold several times, and lived in multiple states. In all likelihood it contracted BSE as a calf -- perhaps through the use of artificial milk, given to factory calves because it's cheaper (and because mom is long gone). The fake milk is protein-enriched through being sprayed with freeze-dried cow blood. Beyond the cow-cannibalism, that's also a great disease vector. The prions that spread BSE are impervious to freezing or high heat.
None of these reckless (and, to the animals, unbelievably cruel) big agribusiness practices would be possible were we Americans not, by and large, profoundly ignorant as to where our food comes from. Similarly, contamination of all sorts in our nation's food supply has become far, far more likely in recent years through the systematic relaxation and dismantling of food safety regulations and inspections. Budgets for federal food safety enforcement have been gutted; leadership posts have gone to figures closely tied to the industries they're supposedly regulating; compliance now frequently relies on industry's self-policing. For the worst corporate violators, the ones actually inspected and found to be egregiously violating food safety laws, the penalties are slaps on the wrist. Many large operations consider such fines a cost of doing business, a pittance compared to the money they save through mistreatment of the animals, fouling of the environment, and careless handling of the meat.
These issues are hardly confined to cattle -- industrial pig farming has become notorious for its noxiousness -- or to meat. The use of antibiotics on farm animals, pesticides on crops, and genetic engineering on anything agribusiness can figure out how to "improve" all carry risks right through the food chain into our bodies.
Illness from bad meat and food is almost impossible to quantify; unless it's an obvious epidemic involving serious illness and a single source, most such illnesses go unreported. Certainly, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is well-established in the U.S.; some 300 new cases are diagnosed each year. News reports that no cases of CJD have ever been confirmed in the U.S. are only technically true; CJD can only be confirmed by autopsy, and beyond the expense, handling the brain tissue of someone infected with CJD, even in a highly controlled laboratory setting, is simply too dangerous. This disease is with us, and contaminated meat is almost certainly one of the ways it has spread.
The discovery of mad cow disease in one cow, out of nearly 100 million now living in the U.S., is hardly a major risk to the public. But the factors that made it possible -- big agribusiness, lax regulation, and consumer ignorance -- also fuel any number of far more common problems. For meat, such problems are usually avoidable by buying organic meat free of antibiotics and the ravages of factory farming. In fact, for nutrients and taste as well as food safety, organics in general are well worth the higher price.
'Composting' Cattle Parts At Slaughterhouses - Prions In Sludge From Patricia Doyle, PhD email@example.com 1-3-4
Hello, Jeff - I have heard that Asian and European Rendering plants sell their products to the US. This is criminal. We know that Japan has had prion disease, as well as cases of MUTATED stain prion, as did Italy. Rendering plants use all of the parts that carry prions. Prions, that are still viable, are all mixed in the render vat and will be found in any of the render. Why, in the "name of good sense" would we want to buy rendered products from countries that have prion disease, especially, prion disease that has been mutated and novel?
I understand rendering plants are the mega 'cash cow,' as we take parts of the cow that would not be usable and otherwise worthless and dump them in the render vats, turning it all into pure profit. 50 cents becomes hundreds of dollars.
I wish that the Government would look more carefully at these rendering plants.
We also need to know more about the meat inspection business. Who do the majority of meat inspectors work for? My information indicates that the majority are hired by and work for the meat companies and not the USDA. We have ONE government inspector supposedly overseeing the "company" inspectors. In other words, we have inspectors who get a company paycheck, deciding on the quality of meat the company produces. Madness.
And what about the downer cows? They will STILL be used for meat and byproducts to feed animals...calves, pigs, chickens, sheep, etc. Remember, "what goes into animal feeds eventually goes into the human who consume the livestock."
It appears that we still have HUGE problems and the government and many consumers are simply ignoring them.
From: Helane Shields Subject: PRION survival in abattoir waste compost To: The US Compost Council firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003
I am amazed to read the ongoing discussion about "composting" abattoir (slaughterhouse) wastes:
"The abattoir waste consisted of intestines, internal organs (lungs, kidneys, stomachs, hearts etc), bones from deboner, intestine and stomach contents..."
BSE prions can be found in cattle intestines, not to mention spleen, tonsils, eyes, brain, CNS tissue, etc.
Isn't anyone concerned about the survival of prions from BSE infected cattle in "composted" abattoir waste? Prions are practically indestructible -- rendering, composting, boiling in acid, etc. do not inactivate them . . . to the best of my knowledge about the only way to "kill" them is advanced alkaline hydrolysis.
The US EPA has already expressed concern about prions in runoff into surface waters from meat packing plants:
Page 11: "An assessment is needed on the potential public health impact of prions which may be associated with stream effluent near meat packing plants."
The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences had the following to say in July 2002 about the risk of prions in sewage sludge ("biosolids") (and this was before BSE was found in Canada and USA):
Page 210 - "Concern about prions has arisen with the advent of prion animal diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The BSE prions concentrate in an animal's brain and spinal cord, but they been detected only in sheep blood at low concentrations. Animal manure would have no or low concentrations of BSE prions except possibly for wastes from slaughterhouses (Ward et al. 1984); however the presence of prions in such wastes is uncertain (EPA 2001). Prions are generally transmitted from animal to animal (cow to cow, sheep to sheep). The risk of prion transmission to biosolids from animals is low but can increase with the presence of small amounts of neural tissues or placenta coming from slaughter houses. At present, there has been little evidence of prion-contaminated manures in the United States."
"Prions are very difficult to inactivate and require rigorous treatment (Godfree 2001). The higher the solids content of the waste, the more rigorous the treatment required (EPA 2001). " ______
Contrary to assurances from the USDA that there are only about 200,000 "downer" cattle each year, in fact the National Renderers Association says there are 1.8 million downer cows each year -- and those downer cows that exhibit CNS problems are the ones most likely to be infected with BSE. Less than one percent of these animals are tested for Mad Cow.