[EXCERPT: He said there was information that cheap cattle feed from Britain had been imported into Southeast Asian countries 10 years ago at the peak of the mad cow disease scare. ... In the case of dead patients, the disease could be detected in their tissue samples, he said. He blamed selfish people and environmental changes for outbreaks of the disease.]
Neurologist warns of mad cow disease
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Bankok Post News
Authorities urged to be prepared for cases in humans who ate tainted meat 10 years ago
A prominent neurologist has urged authorities to be prepared for a possible outbreak of mad cow disease in humans, saying it could begin to manifest itself in people who ate tainted meat a decade ago. It is suspected that feed contaminated with the disease was imported into Thailand 10 years ago.
Theerawat Hemajutha of Chulalongkorn University said it took about 10 years for people who have eaten contaminated meat to show symptoms.
It was likely that there would be mad cow disease cases in humans in Thailand and, from now on, the country had to be extremely watchful for possible outbreaks of the disease in humans.
He said there was information that cheap cattle feed from Britain had been imported into Southeast Asian countries 10 years ago at the peak of the mad cow disease scare.
Thailand had reportedly bought around 1,000 tonnes of the feed, mostly made from the carcasses, bones, entrails, brains and spinal cords of sheep.
It is suspected that the feed might have been contaminated as manufacturers had cut costs by not following standard procedures.
He said there had been no information on where the imported cattle feed had been distributed.
But he said it is safe to eat meat now as there have been no reports of sick cows recently.
Mad cow disease is the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, (BSE). It is a fatal disease that causes progressive neurological degeneration in cattle. The disease was first reported among cattle in the UK in November 1986. The source of the BSE outbreak is uncertain, but it is thought to have been amplified by feeding cattle with meat-and-bone meal from BSE-infected cattle.
The human form of the disease is known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or CJD _ a neuro-degenerative disorder that usually ends in death.
Dr Theerawat said people with the disease would die within 14 to 18 months.
He said diagnosis of the disease was difficult as mad cow carriers developed symptoms like a brain infection. He said the disease could be detected in tonsil samples taken from patients if they were still alive.
In the case of dead patients, the disease could be detected in their tissue samples, he said. He blamed selfish people and environmental changes for outbreaks of the disease.
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