Palaces For The People
Sunday, January 04, 2004
21 Mar 01 BBC News
Leicestershire Health Authority CJD Inquiry
Traditional butchery practices are the most likely cause of Britain's first variant CJD cluster, say experts. Leicestershire Health Authority unveiled the findings of a report into the deaths of five young people in the village of Queniborough from nvCJD at a public meeting on Wednesday.
... The inquiry team believe the infection that caused the Queniborough outbreak could have been spread from high-risk brain tissue to cuts intended for human consumption via butchers' hands or knives. They say the critical period occurred between 1980 and 1991, and believe the incubation period for the disease could be up to 16 years.
They also believe only small amounts of contaminated material are enough to put humans at risk. The inquiry found that although all the victims did not use the same butcher, they all ate beef or beef products. The experts believe out-dated techniques used by some small abattoirs and butchers probably spread the disease from cows to humans. ...
FINAL REPORT OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE NORTH LEICESTERSHIRE
CLUSTER OF VARIANT CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB
...7.2.5 WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL
INVESTIGATION INCLUDING THE HISTORIC MEAT SUPPLY CHAIN
IN THE CLUSTER AREA?
Drinking water is an unlikely explanation for this cluster of cases of vCJD
because several water quality supply zones supplied the addresses at which
those affected had lived. The reservoirs serving these supply zones are those
that supply water to most of the population of Leicestershire.
It had been suggested that high levels of Manganese in the soil might have
been responsible for cattle in the area developing BSE. We obtained data
from the British Geological survey which shows that Manganese levels in the
area are not high.
Leicestershire Health Authority Home Page
SUMMARY OF THE FINAL REPORT OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE NORTH LEICESTERSHIRE CLUSTER OF VARIANT CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE
The investigation was carried out by Dr Gerry Bryant and Dr Philip Monk who have prepared and present this report to Leicestershire Health Authority.
...# RESULTS OF THE CASE CONTROL STUDY
1. Butchers, supermarkets and freezer food centres used by cases and controls
Four of the people who developed variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease bought and consumed beef from one of two butchers during the early 1980s. One of these butchers slaughtered beasts in his own abattoir. This butcher normally processed three beasts a week. He ceased trading in 1989. The other butcher had beasts slaughtered in a small nearby abattoir. He processed four to five beasts a week. This butcher’s business ceased trading in December 1982. It has not been possible to trace the butcher who was used regularly by one family during the first half of the 1980s. It is unlikely that he removed brains or even purchased the heads of beasts. He did not slaughter beasts himself or use a small local abattoir.
...# CONCLUSIONS FROM THE STUDY
We have found an association which provides a biologically plausible explanation suggesting that four out of the five people with variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease may have been exposed to the BSE agent through the purchase and consumption of beef from a butcher’s shop where the meat could be contaminated with brain tissue. On a national basis, it is unlikely to explain how all of the people who have developed this disease were exposed to the BSE agent.
Assuming that we are correct in our explanation, we have shown that for one of the butchers, the exposure took place before December 1982. For the other the risk of the exposure continued until that butcher ceased trading in 1989. Analysis of the exposure of our cases to this butchering practice points to an incubation period for the development of variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease of between ten and sixteen years. This is the first time that it has been possible to provide an estimate of the incubation period.
We have shown that it is possible to examine by traditional epidemiological methods exposures that took place twenty years ago.
Press Release 2003/0485
Monday 1st December 2003
MONTHLY CREUTZFELDT JAKOB DISEASE STATISTICS
The Department of Health is today issuing the latest information about the numbers of known cases of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease. This includes cases of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD) - the form of the disease thought to be linked to BSE. The position is as follows:
Definite and probable CJD cases in the UK:
Referral of suspect CJD
Deaths of Definite and Probable CJD
Year Referrals Year Sporadic Iatrogenic Familial GSS *vCJD Total Deaths
Total 1780 Total Deaths 687 44 39 20 137 927