BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Tuesday, 18 July, 2000, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
Rise in number of CJD victims

There has been a statistically significant rise in the number of people diagnosed with the human form of mad cow disease, government scientists report.

There are now 69 known victims of variant Creutzfeld Jakob disease (vCJD), the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee said. It is the official body monitoring the progress of the disease.

Its spokesman for SEAC said there are a further seven "probable" cases but added that vCJD can be identified with absolute certainty only after death.

"The number of cases reported now indicates a statistically significant rising trend of around 20-30% per annum to date," the spokesman said.

First consistent rise

Peter Smith, acting chairman of SEAC, said the new figures meant that an additional 10 people contracted the incurable disease in the last 12 months, but the figure will have risen by between 12 and 14 by this time next year.

Mr Smith added that the announcement, made on Monday evening, represented the first time a consistent rate of increase in the number of people contracting vCJD had been confirmed.

The SEAC spokesman also announced that the cluster of cases of vCJD that were recently discovered in the Leicestershire village of Queniborough could "throw new light on the mode of transmission of vCJD".

Scientific research
Research is being carried out in Queniborough
The announcement came as the scientist in charge of research into the human form of mad cow disease suggested baby food and school meals could have been a major source of infection.

Dr Robert Will, director of the government's CJD surveillance unit in Edinburgh, said meat processing methods in the 1980s may have led to contaminated beef ending up on children's plates.

The theory could explain the relatively high incidence of the disease among young people - an issue which has long been debated by doctors.

Although the incubation period of the disease is normally 10 years, the youngest two victims first showed symptoms at the age of 14 and many others were also teenagers.

Conventional CJD rarely occurs in people under the age of 50 and most victims are in their 60s.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

CJD

Features

Background

CLICKABLE GUIDE

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

15 Jul 00 | Health
CJD scientists probe abattoirs
14 Jul 00 | Health
Warning over rising CJD cases
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories