PARIS: Around one person in 2,000 in Britain carries the protein linked to the human version of mad cow disease, a figure higher than previous estimates, a study said yesterday.
But how many people will actually develop the crippling and ultimately fatal disease is unknown, its authors say. They also warn Britain to fight the risk of wider contamination through blood transfusions and surgical instruments.
The study, published online by the British Medical Journal, is the most exhaustive attempt yet to quantify the risk to Britons from the variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD. This is a brain-destroying disorder whose suspected cause lies with eating beef contaminated by mad cow disease, a bovine illness that erupted in Britain in the late 1980s.