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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Anemia discovery offers new targets to treat fatigue in millions

January 22, 2018
A new discovery from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has revealed an unknown clockwork mechanism within the body that controls the creation of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. The finding sheds light on iron-restricted ...

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Onions could hold key to fighting antibiotic resistance

January 22, 2018
A type of onion could help the fight against antibiotic resistance in cases of tuberculosis, a UCL and Birkbeck-led study suggests.

Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells

January 22, 2018
The latest "kick-and-kill" research to eliminate the HIV virus uncovered a potential obstacle in finding a cure. A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) found that latent HIV reservoirs show ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.