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Mad Cow Disease

The Great British Beef Scandal

OnlineMSE  Male  Essex 12-Jul-2019 08:56 Message #4744692
I watched the BBC2 programme last night.
It's well worth catching up with it, if not only to remind what happened but also to understand how it happened in the first place and the worrying vCJD "timebomb" that is potentially still there.

The whole BSE tragedy came down to 2 basic decisions. Allowing all previously unused animal food waste (from cattle, sheep, pork & chicken) to be used in animal bone meal feed for cattle. So turning a herbivore into carnivore in the pursuit of rapid growth and meat production.
And allowing brain and spinal column by-products from cattle to be used in mechanically recovered meat production, because it made for plentiful and cheap "meat" products.
And then this was exacerbated by the unfounded belief that BSE wouldn't jump species because it was similar to scapie in sheep, which never had.
And then they realised too late that it could be passed from an infected person to another through donated blood but not before it had already got into the transfusion chain.
I didn't realise that even now nobody who lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 is allowed to donate blood in any other country because they may be incubating vCJD.

This most worrying finding has now come to light is that the disease can lay dormant in humans from between 30 to 50 years depending purely on genetics as this affects how the disease creates the prions which go on to cause the disease to appear and spread throughout the body.
All of the initial victims had the M-V genetic codes which meant the disease had rapid onset. But there are also people with M-M and M-V genetic codes and these are known (from the study of a Papua New Guinea tribe of cannibals (who's custom it was to eat the brains of dead relatives and have their own version of the disease) to incubate the disease for up to 50 years. The disease has now claimed it's first M-V coded person in the UK.
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire 12-Jul-2019 10:43 Message #4744703
An interesting post OnlineMSE.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 12-Jul-2019 10:46 Message #4744707
The mad cow good2moowith will be along in a minute though...

That'll be a laugh...
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 12-Jul-2019 11:31 Message #4744724
I did CSE Nuffield Combined Science at school and even I know that making a vegetarian animal a meat eater would cause problems.

I went to give blood and was refused as I'd had a transfusion and blood products within the time frame you mention, I was told I had to wait for 25 years before I could donate blood, now I've had other blood products so I don't think I'll ever be able to donate blood. As for vCJD, I did worry about it for quite a long time, but I'm going to die of something and most ways are pretty ugly, painful and distressingly undignified.
SQL  Male  Devon 12-Jul-2019 14:47 Message #4744755
Yes I watched the program, the Government were warned early in the disease discovery that the disease could possibly jump the species barrier - but the response was typical: move the researcher (Dr Stephen Dealler) into another unrelated job where he could not cause any trouble. Also typical of the Government at the time to deny any claims of problems outright and having to admit the problem later on and no-one taking any blame or responsibility.

And so - any of us (unless we have the knowledge of our genetic make-up) could now be at risk of vCJD in the future. I was surprised to hear that vCJD is the only man-made disease that has caused this type of problem, death from vCJD is comparatively rapid and absolutely unstoppable. A matter of a few months of decline from a normal human being to a gibbering wreck and then death.

terry  Male  West Yorkshire 14-Jul-2019 20:28 Message #4745110
I'm slightly surprised this thread has so few posts on it, would have thought such a piece of information would have had far more people interested.
I saw quite a bit of the programme too, and remember thinking at the time of the outbreak how come we didn't complain more loudly or how come (as far as I'm aware) no murder/manslaughter charges were brought against the developers/companies producing this feed.

It was heartbreaking to see the effects on the people who died.
OnlineMSE  Male  Essex 14-Jul-2019 21:47 Message #4745120
What is also worrying is where a lot of the cheap MRM products ended up being consumed.
At the same time as this was all happening the government changed the law where school meals would have had to provide nutrition, to one that was to merely provide a meal for a cheap as possible.
The ban on using high risk offal for human consumption was banned 30 years ago.
Many of those unwitting victims, with the different gene sequence, may well be the ones now incubating the vCJD because of that exposure.

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