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Home Industry News CJD incubation ‘could take 50 years’

CJD incubation ‘could take 50 years’

26th June 2006

Humans who ingested traces of BSE during the epidemic among cows in the 1990s could find the disease incubates for 50 years before developing as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), it has been claimed.

Scientists from University College London (UCL) used a disease called kuru, caused by cannibalism among tribes in East Indonesia before the 1950s to analyse and predict the potential incubation period of BSE prions.

They found that the last case of kuru occurred in 1996, 50 years after Australian authorities last prevented tribesmen from eating their dead relatives as a mark of respect.

It follows that prions, a unique kind of infectious agent made of protein, could have an equally long incubation period in BSE, concluding that the development of vCJD could occur a maximum of between 39 and 56 years.

The report’s lead author, Professor John Collinge of UCL, claims that the results of his findings could indicate a potentially significant underestimation in recent assessments of the size of the vCJD epidemic.

He suggests that the 160 patients diagnosed so far with vCJD “could represent a distinct genetic subpopulation with unusually short incubation periods for BSE”.

“A human BSE epidemic may be multiphasic, and recent estimates of the size of the vCJD epidemic based on uniform genetic susceptibility could be substantial underestimations,” he argues.

track© Adfero Ltd

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