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New BSE nightmare

Issue No. 1712

Scientist 'shaken up'

New BSE nightmare

Mad cow disease may be jumping from species to species undetected by any safeguards. That is the nightmare scenario research scientists warned of this week. If true, this would make the potential spread of BSE even wider than previously thought.

It would also mean that present safeguards are not enough to stop more people being infected by CJD, its human equivalent. BSE expert Professor John Collinge has published research saying that not only cattle but sheep, pigs and chickens may be carrying a so far undetected "sub-clinical" form of the disease.

Collinge is on the government's Seac advisory committee on BSE. He admits to being "shaken up" by his own research. His results mean that animals which show no outward symptoms of illness may still infect humans who eat them.

The incidence of the disease in humans is growing by between 20 and 30 percent a year. A new case of a man dying of CJD has just been reported in Telford. This news comes after three years of New Labour following the Tory line that there is nothing to fear from British beef.

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Sat 2 Sep 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1712
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