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BSE versus Creutzveld-Jacobs-syndrome

bhjelle at unm.edu bhjelle at unm.edu
Fri Mar 29 13:34:39 EST 1996

In article <315C0C79.1B15 at pen.gulbenkian.pt>,
Joao Vasconcelos Costa  <jcosta at pen.gulbenkian.pt> wrote:
>bhjelle at unm.edu wrote:
>> All this talk about "hysteria" and "disproportionate
>> reactions" and "one-in-a-million" threats has a very
>> familiar ring. How many of those who are making these
>> comments remember the transfusion-associated AIDS debacle
>So, ok about forbiding brain in the human food, but how can you
>imagine such a drastic change in usage and economics if a ban of beef
>was decided? On which scientific basis? And what about sheep meat, po-
>tentially infected with scrapie? The lack of correlation with the in-
>cidence of CJD, for decades, is reassuring enough? Going further down 
>with the odds, you probably know that BSE has been successfully 
>transmitted to pigs and pigs eat everything. Are you sure there are no 
>infected pigs around, until a SSE (swine spongiform encephalopathy) is 
>discovered? Are we also going to ban pig meat?
>At present, the knowledge of the risk of contracting CJD from 
>BSE-infected food is no geater than the one on the association of high
>voltage wires and leukemia. Is this enough for destroying all the 
I would make a huge contrast between the high voltage
wire-cancer link and the risk of cross-species transmission
of BSE. In the laboratory, BSE has been transmitted to mice,
goats and sheep via the oral route (see http://www.airtime.
co.uk/bse/tse.htm.#immunity). BSE can be transmitted into
transgenic mice bearing human PrP and produces human PrPSc.

As for the risk from sheep and pigs, I would say that if
we had 160,000 cases of scrapie in sheep or porcine
spongiform encephalopathy, it should be regarded with the
same concern as the bovine epidemic.

I would challenge you to convince me that the operation of
slaughterhouses could be modified to prevent low-level
contamination of meat with neural tissue, and still have
an economically viable operation.


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