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Mad Cow Disease in USA being investigated

Public Health Health Mad Cow Disease 2003

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#21 Jid

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Posted 25 December 2003 - 10:49 PM

^ Welcome to Canada's world, earlier in the year ;)
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#22 DWF

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 12:22 PM

Not that it should really mean anything, but the infected cow is reported to have come from Canada.

http://story.news.ya...e_me/mad_cow_85

Quote

The Holstein infected with mad cow disease in Washington state was imported into the United States from Canada about two years ago, federal investigators tentatively concluded Saturday.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief veterinarian for the Agriculture Department, said Canadian officials have provided records that indicate the animal was one of a herd of 74 cattle that were shipped from Alberta, Canada, into this country in 2001 at Eastport, Idaho.

"These animals were all dairy cattle and entered the U.S. only about two or two-and-a-half years ago, so most of them are still likely alive," DeHaven said.

He emphasized that just because the sick cow was a member of that herd, it does not mean that all 74 animals are infected.

Based on the Canadian records, the cow was 6 1/2-years-old — older than U.S. officials had thought, DeHaven said. U.S. papers on the cow said she was 4- or 4 1/2-years-old.

The age is significant because the United States and Canada have banned feed that could be the source of infection since 1997.

Farmers used to feed their animals meal containing tissue from other cattle and livestock to fatten them. Health officials in both countries banned such feed because infected tissue — such as the brain and spinal cord — could be in the meal.

The Agriculture Department also has recalled an estimated 10,000 pounds of meat cut from the infected cow and from 19 other cows all slaughtered Dec. 9 at Vern's Moses Lake Meat Co., in Moses Lake, Wash.

Ken Peterson, of the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said officials still are trying to track down the meat. He and other department officials have stressed that the U.S. food supply is still considered safe because the animal's brain and spinal cord were removed before the meat was processed.

:unsure:
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#23 White Tiger

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 02:55 PM

Looks like they found their scape-goat
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#24 White Tiger

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 02:58 PM

Kevin Street...Little OT question...You live in Edmonton?

Have you ever heard of the "Shaolin Tiger School"?
It used to have commercials on A-Channel during Xena and Hercules












/
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#25 Kevin Street

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 04:26 PM

Oh crap, now they'll blame us for this one too. :wacko: Well, I don't believe it just yet. They say they found the cow's ear tag in the slaughterhouse, but how do they know it's the right one? There's a serious discrepency in ages.

Don't worry about the food-supply, DWF. Your meat is perfectly safe, since the worst parts of the cow weren't used anyway. I bet there have been other BSE infected cows in North America before (maybe one in every million or so) but they probably never made anyone sick. If we ate cow brains, that would be a different story, but thank goodness we don't. ;)

And that goodness for that law banning animal products in feed! If they hadn't passed that, both our beef industries would probably be as bad as England's by now.
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#26 Rov Judicata

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 04:44 PM

Required mad cow perspective reading:

http://www.professor...ate_on_bse.html
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#27 Uncle Sid

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 05:21 PM

Blame Canada!

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#28 DWF

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 07:38 PM

Kevin Street, on Dec 27 2003, 04:26 PM, said:

Oh crap, now they'll blame us for this one too. :wacko: Well, I don't believe it just yet. They say they found the cow's ear tag in the slaughterhouse, but how do they know it's the right one? There's a serious discrepency in ages.

Don't worry about the food-supply, DWF. Your meat is perfectly safe, since the worst parts of the cow weren't used anyway. I bet there have been other BSE infected cows in North America before (maybe one in every million or so) but they probably never made anyone sick. If we ate cow brains, that would be a different story, but thank goodness we don't. ;)

And that goodness for that law banning animal products in feed! If they hadn't passed that, both our beef industries would probably be as bad as England's by now.
I haven't stopped eating beef that's for sure, but this is a HUGE blow to the farmers of the north west. And it's affecting our beef exports to other countries.

As to where the cow came from, I don't think it's as important as where the actual meat came from, because that's where the infection could be passed on to people.


Of course I can't see the sense in feeding brain to cows in the first place. :unsure:
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

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#29 StarDust

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 10:37 PM

They do separate out the sinal cord and brain, which is what is believe to carry the disease. From what they know it isn't present in meat (muscle). Also, supposedly cows under 3 years don't get the disease, and most American cows are slaughtered at 30 months.

Some people do eat brain, although it isn't real common. I think people out in the Texas area are the biggest eaters. It's called sweetbread, which is real inappropriate in my opinon   :alien:

I'm not worrying about it, no way I'm giving up my beef.   It's the only reason I'm not a vegetarian.   :hehe:  Some will though. There are people who over react to everything, this will be no different. Of course the cost of beef should go down :)

They bad part is that it can take 10-20 years before a human starts showing symptoms. It shows up rather immediately in cows. But they still don't know a lot about the disease, it's realitively new, and has such a long incubation in humans.  And despite the thousands of cows killed because of the disease in GB, only 129 humans have died from it, most in GB. My concern in general is the fact they slaughter cows that are obviously sick.  They've said in the news that when ever a cow is ill, the spine and brain are sent to be tested for mad cow when it's slaughtered. My thinking is that if a cow is sick it should be cremated, not tested and entered into the food supply.  All kinds of things can go wrong there.

#30 Ilisidi

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 11:17 PM

Thanks for posting that info guys on the regulations of not processing sick animals into the food chain.  Because I've been under the impression that this cow that was postive for Mad Cow was imminent hamburger until it was tested.  Here, we've been rather incensed at the thought that sick animals appear to be getting into the food processing line!!
found this tidbit in the note section!  

Words of Zack RE Tyr: This is just one ex-writer speaking completely non-canonically, but in my mind the most fascinating thing about Tyr was that despite his breeding and socialization to be treacherous, opportunistic, and selfish, it was pretty clear that underneath it all, another aspect of Tyr's personality was to be gentle, loyal, and altruistic. We saw this most clearly in "Distant Drum," where with his memory gone Tyr's default mode was to protect the weak and risk his life for kludges, but it also surfaced in "Its Hour" with Tyr's obvious pride in and protectiveness toward Harper, and then in "All Too Human" (the title says it all), where Tyr is confused and enraged by his own compassion toward Harper. In my own mind at least, Tyr's growth as a character was ultimately to try and merge what was best about the Nietzscheans (energy, intelligence, never say die attitude) with what was best about humanity (empathy, altruism, connectedness with others.)As always, YMMV.

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#31 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 10:22 AM

This is SO not right. Here's the link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3797510/


Quote

Key for U.S. export market
Confirming that the sick cow came from Canada will be crucial for the United States to continue exporting beef because it could retain its disease-free status. The country has lost 90 percent of its exports because of the case, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association estimates, because more than two dozen foreign nations have banned the import of U.S. beef despite claims by U.S. officials that the meat is safe.

Canada found a case of mad cow disease in Alberta in May. The discovery decimated the country’s beef industry as its importers cut off trade.

So now the US is going to try and shift the blame to Canada, all because an infected cow has seriously damaged the beef exports??? That's like a kid with his hand caught in a cookie jar trying to blame the grocery store....
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#32 Corwin

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 08:53 PM

StarDust, on Dec 27 2003, 09:37 PM, said:

Some people do eat brain, although it isn't real common. I think people out in the Texas area are the biggest eaters. It's called sweetbread, which is real inappropriate in my opinon   :alien:
Hmmm....  I wouldn't know about that.. I've never seen it for sale in stores or in restaurants here.  It could be considered a delicacy in some circles I suppose...  

But NO worries here..  Two days ago I had a 20oz. Prime Rib (very rare) and enjoyed every oh so tender morsal....  (No offense to those of you who are Vegetarians).

:lol:


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#33 DWF

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 09:30 PM

And it continues to get worse.

http://story.news.ya...id=519&ncid=716

Quote

Meat from a Holstein sick with mad cow disease has now reached retail markets in eight states and one territory, but still poses no health risk, Agriculture Department officials said Sunday.

Dr. Kenneth Petersen, an Agriculture Department veterinarian, said investigators have determined that some of the meat from the diseased dairy cow slaughtered Dec. 9 in Washington state went to Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and Guam. Earlier, officials had said most of the meat went to Washington and Oregon, with lesser amounts to California and Nevada, for distribution to consumers.

"The recalled meat represents essentially zero risk to consumers," said Petersen, of the USDA's food safety agency.

He said the parts most likely to carry infection — the brain, spinal cord and lower intestine — were removed before the meat from the infected cow was cut and processed for human consumption.



While there's no danger, people will still react as thought there is. :wacko:
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

"Don't mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend." - Keith R.A. DeCandido

#34 Nick

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 09:49 PM

Well with 90% of U.S. beef exports NOT being exported . . . has the domestic market been flooded with beef?  Will beef prices start falling sharply in the U.S.?  Cold comfort for some, but it sounds as good a cause for a barbecue as any for others . . . ;)

-Nick

#35 DWF

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 10:19 PM

Nick, on Dec 28 2003, 09:49 PM, said:

Well with 90% of U.S. beef exports NOT being exported . . . has the domestic market been flooded with beef?  Will beef prices start falling sharply in the U.S.?  Cold comfort for some, but it sounds as good a cause for a barbecue as any for others . . . ;)

-Nick
Sounds good to me, as long as hamburger prices start going down. :D
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

"Don't mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend." - Keith R.A. DeCandido

#36 Orpheus

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 01:10 AM

I just thought I'd remind people that the number of Americans who will die from good old E.coli contamination of beef this *week* will exceed the number of bovine related CJD deaths in the entire history of the US and Canada. Heck, if some senile grandma in Nebraska left the meat for the Sunday family meatlof on the counter overnight, *today's* E. Coli casualties could easily outnumber the national vCJD historic total.

And, for the record, though the number of 'natural' (purely human origin) CJD is hard to count accurately, because it is easily confounded by other age-related diseases, it is estimated to be roughly 250 cases a year  - half the usual annual US E coli death count, yet still more than the number of known cow-related CJD in the history of mankind.

(CJD isn't precisely age-related, but the chance refolding of human -yes, human- protein that underlies all cases of CJD (even if a case is promoted by BSE contamination) has more accumulated chance to occur by random the longer you've lived)

Even in England, where the BSE scare has probably had the greatest impact, the latest numbers suggest the annual fatalities in the lifetime of any Slipstreamer (up to the year 2080) will probably be on the rough order of a few plane crashes. In fact , based on the figures from the begining of the scare to December 2002, the deaths in the next 5 years will add up to something between a bad 2-minivan accident and a single airliner crash [mean prediction for the next five years: 70 deaths, with upper and lower 5%ile limits of 10 and 200.] There's a 95% chance that the total British death count in the next five years won't equal the lightning strike or peanut-butter related deaths in the US this year.

Quote

From this week's New Scientist:
In 1997, the UK research group predicted that up to 10 million people could die from the devastating disease. In 2002, the figure dropped to 50,000, based on data up to 2000. Now researchers at Imperial College, London say the likely upper limit of deaths has fallen to 7000.

Azra Ghani and colleagues used epidemiological data to model vCJD cases and deaths. Their best estimate now is that 80 more deaths will occur by 2080 - 122 have already died in the UK. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty, says Ghani.

"The large numbers [predicted] are now looking very unlikely - because you would have had to have seen an awful lot of cases by now," Ghani told New Scientist. "But obviously 80 deaths is still 80 deaths."

She notes that the upper limit of 7000 was based on an analysis of data up to the end of 2001. The group has since added the data for 2002 to their analysis and submitted the results for publication. "It does look like it will be even lower [than 7,000], as we have had two years in a row now where numbers look to be declining."


Confidence limit

The upper limit of 7000 deaths by 2080 represents the upper 95 per cent confidence limit. The equivalent lower confidence limit was 10 deaths.

Short term projections by the group also show that a dramatic increase in cases is unlikely. In the next two years, they predict 30 deaths, with upper and lower limits of 10 and 80. And in the next five years, they predict 70 deaths, with upper and lower limits of 10 and 200.
Okay, so maybe I'm making it sound ridiculous -- but after every major airliner crash, enough people choose to drive rather than fly to create a net *increase* in fatalities, because cars are much more dangerous. That's what I meant by "increased risks by unintended consequences."

The number of minutes of my life I've wasted explaining the risk level of vCJD exceeds the number of minutes vCJD will cost everyone I know.

Meanwhile, like always, ca one American in a million (200-300 per year) will die from CJD caused by nothing but our own native brain proteins.

In fact, I've calculated that sleeping with certain Ex Isle gents will probably decrease your chances of dying from CJD (by increasing your chances of dying of other causes). Please form six equal lines. No trading allowed without authorization.

#37 StarDust

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 06:11 PM

^ The lack of proportionality for things always amazes me. Of course a lot of it has to do with the newscasters who want to whip up a good story for ratings.

Over 42,000 people died in auto accidents last year in the US, and that's down from an all time high of over 50,000 a decade ago.  Yet I don't see bans and exports and protests against autos.  That would be too inconvienent.   :lol:

#38 Ilisidi

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 09:01 PM

But you know what, it still seems that this particular cow was sick and still was processed!  

I'm fine with the low potential of BSE being spread through the meat but, why was a sick animal even processed in the first place??  That fact alone lowers my confidence in the meat I eat!
found this tidbit in the note section!  

Words of Zack RE Tyr: This is just one ex-writer speaking completely non-canonically, but in my mind the most fascinating thing about Tyr was that despite his breeding and socialization to be treacherous, opportunistic, and selfish, it was pretty clear that underneath it all, another aspect of Tyr's personality was to be gentle, loyal, and altruistic. We saw this most clearly in "Distant Drum," where with his memory gone Tyr's default mode was to protect the weak and risk his life for kludges, but it also surfaced in "Its Hour" with Tyr's obvious pride in and protectiveness toward Harper, and then in "All Too Human" (the title says it all), where Tyr is confused and enraged by his own compassion toward Harper. In my own mind at least, Tyr's growth as a character was ultimately to try and merge what was best about the Nietzscheans (energy, intelligence, never say die attitude) with what was best about humanity (empathy, altruism, connectedness with others.)As always, YMMV.

How I remember those days....

#39 Nick

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Posted 30 December 2003 - 05:59 PM

Oooo . . . here's a thought--with all that extra beef on the domestic market, people are going to start eating lots more beef (maybe less ground beef due to the potential for contamination with nervous tissue and media hype) . . . So are E-coli deaths going to start skyrocketing?  How about heart disease?

And Orph . . . what exactly *are* peanut butter related deaths?  All that comes to mind for me are fatal allergic reactions and choking . . . drowning/suffocation? spontaneous human combustion?

-Nick

#40 Orpheus

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 04:45 PM

Here's a basic fact that is lost in all the furor:

We have always had BSE in the US. We will have BSE in the US for the foreseeable future. We just never looked very hard for it before.

It has always been complete foolishness to think that American cows -or cows of any nations were BSE-free Bad butchering, herd rearing, and other practices can cause the condition to spread or cause higher prion loads, but our our BSE didn't come here from anywhere. It started here, and has always been here.

BSE is no different than CJD in humans, there have always been a small number of spontaneous cases. It's not an "infection" per se. It's an accidental refolding of a normal brain protein (PrP). Once that happens, one bad copy *may* help catalyze other copies of that protein to refold in a "bad" way. These "bad folded forms" are what we call 'prions' (the transmission agent of BSD/CJD/scrapie) We have met the enemy and it is us Prions are not exogenous, they are made by our body.

It's equally important to note that one -or many- prions in your brain won't necessarily give you CJD. They might not catalyze enough to perpetuate themselves before they break down. They might progress so slowly (or in a fairly nonessential region) that you die of old age first. Most known cases of CJD have turned up turn up in older people who've had the longest time to have 'bad luck refoldings'.  

In  fact, it's s probably always been more common than we think; it's hard to diagnose, and "common things being common", it's hard to spot a one-per-million disease against a background of more common, similar diseases (like Alzheimers) which may even co-exist in the same patient. The few times when it occurred in a young person simply stood out, and were much more likely to be diagnosed

The big epidemiological breakthrough was the demonstration that cow and sheep prions were close enough to human prions to start the cascade. This was previously believed ('blindly hoped' is more like it) to be impossible. This makes it possible to get a "big dose" of prions from a sick cow (enhanced by feeding them cow/sheep byproducts that would not have been suitable for human consumption)

Another important fact: it may always be impossible to tell if a case is 'spontaneous' or triggered by cow prions. By the time a case can be detected, it's been brewing for years. All the prions are of human origin. If you happen to find a cow prion in a patient, it's innocent because it came to late to the party to be the cause - it's a coincidence The cause is long gone. Prions can't manufacture prions (like bacterial reproduction) or even  subvert cells to make prions [as viruses do], they can only encourage your own brain proteins to fold in an undesired way. That first generation is very limited. After that, all the culprits are your own refolded PrPs.

CJD is a clumsy 'Rube Goldberg' condition. It's hard to spread. It also doesn't evolve, because it has no genetic material. It's just a rare failure mode, like dying from biting your tongue.

Nick -
Mostl E. Coli deaths are from ground meat. It's hard for bacteria to grow to sufficient density on the surface of unground meat, and even then they're easily removed (though you'd hope they discard it). Grinding meat spreads contamination into the volume of the meat, and hides the bacteria. Also many toxic phages or variants are more active in low oxygen situations, like inside a pile of burger.

Yet, in spite of that, the relative prevalence of E. Coli (etc) is so much higher than BSE that even the increase in salad- or veggie-borne E coli, poultry-borne salmonella and cheese bourne Listeria (etc)  will definitely kill more people than BSE/CJD between now and 2080, even if the English stats are off by a factor of 10.



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