“…About 24,000 people in the UK are carrying the agent that can cause the deadly brain condition Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD) – linked with eating infected meat – twice the number previously estimated by scientists.
The latest figure is based on a study of 30,000 appendixes removed in operations which were tested for the presence of the prion, or misfolded protein, that causes the condition.
More than a decade ago ministers assured the public that beef was safe to eat -
- and then had to eat their words when, in March 1996, it was announced that a new disease, variant CJD, had been discovered in humans.
It had come from eating meat from cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -
- a similar disease caused by the now discontinued practice of feeding ground-up animal carcases to cows as part of their diet.
BSE became known as mad cow disease -
- and in humans CJD is characterised by rapidly progressive dementia and death…”
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