Second wave of mad cow disease possible

May 21, 2006
Cow

British scientists recently discovered that the gene responsible for mad cow disease can lie dormant many years, which could create a second wave of disease.

Scientists had thought only 40 percent of the population was at risk for vCJD, the human equivalent of the mad cow infection. They now believe tens of thousands more people could be at risk if they consumed diseased meat in the 1980s and 1990s, the Scotsman reported.

A dormant infection was recently found in someone with the MV genotype that accounts for half the population. Now two other dormant infections have been discovered in the W genotype, meaning virtually everyone can be a carrier.

Professor James Ironside, of the National CJD Surveillance Unit at Edinburgh University, says it is possible incubation periods are very, very long. Blood transfusions and surgery could then allow the disease to spread indefinitely.

Microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington said it was a case of waiting and seeing what might happen because no one really knows.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Nepal adopts jab to boost polio fight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists develop vaccine against cattle disease

Apr 30, 2013

(Phys.org) —Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a disease that is almost always fatal in cattle. Cows contract MCF after coming into contact with wildebeest carrying a form of herpes virus known as alcelaphine ...

Scientists move closer to a safer anthrax vaccine

Sep 04, 2009

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified two small protein fragments that could be developed into an anthrax vaccine that may cause fewer side effects than ...

Prion switching in response to environmental stress

Nov 25, 2008

If you have had a hard day at work, you may change your eating habits, perhaps favoring comfort food, but you don't suddenly develop the ability to eat the plate and cutlery. A new paper, published in this week's issue of ...

Recommended for you

Cooling of dialysis fluids protects against brain damage

6 hours ago

While dialysis can cause blood pressure changes that damage the brain, cooling dialysis fluids can protect against such effects. The findings come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American So ...

User comments : 0