New vCJD Data, Projections Released in the UK

Lets take a look at where the United Kingdom is in its vCJD breakout, usually ascribed to the transmission of Mad Cow Disease.

In 2004, the number of people who died from vCJD continued to decline. A total of 9 people died from vCJD in 2004, compared to 18 deaths in 2003.

So far, a total of 148 people have died from vCJD and there are currently 5 people alive who are believed to be suffering from vCJD.

How many more people are likely to die from vCJD? An Imperial College London study released in January suggests that about 70 more people in Great Britain will become ill with vCJD.

Thousands of people likely harbor the defective prions, but for a variety of reasons will never exhibit symptoms of the disease in their lifetimes. Only about 40 percent of the British population has the specific genetic makeup that makes them susceptible to the disease. Moreover even in those susceptible to the disease, for most the incubation period will last longer than their lifespan.

Sources:

UK Department of Health, Monthly Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Statistics, Press Release 2005/0009, January 10, 2005.

Thousands of Britons may carry vCJD. James Reynolds, The Scotsman, January 12, 2005.

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