More Mad Cow Disease on the Way, Say Scientists

A new case of CJD, or mad cow disease, has prompted scientists in the UK to warn that a new wave of the deadly condition is coming. And many more people could be infected.

The new case of CJD affected a man whose genetic makeup was of a type researchers call "MV," and it was previously believed to make people immune to the brain disease that causes mental deterioration and death. CJD affects people who eat cows that also have it. During the last outbreak of CJD, only people of the genetic type "MM" were affected.

In an op-ed in Lancet Neurology, the researchers say:

To put it prudently, a second wave of CJD with a longer incubation time might hit these shores, but we do not know whether this will be a tidal wave or just an imperceptible ripple.

One researcher speculated there might be between 50-350 cases in this new wave of infections. It will be harder to track the cases in the short term, however, because the MV infected have a longer incubation time.

[via Nature]

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