Incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in the European Community
Epidemiologic surveillance of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) was reinstituted in the United Kingdom in 1990 following a recommendation by the Southwood Committee (1). The aim of the surveillance program is to determine whether there is a change in the epidemiologic or clinicopathologic features of CJD as a result of transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to the human population, should this indeed occur. National surveillance programs for CJD have been established in France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, and all these European projects now share common methodologies, assisted by a grant awarded through the BIOMED1 program. The importance of conducting epidemiologic research in CJD has been heightened by the occurrence of BSE in several member states of the European Community (EC) and an increased level of controversy about the perceived risk posed by BSE. The risk to the human population has been judged to be remote by a range of official bodies including the Southwood Committee, the United Kingdom Agricultural Select Committee, EC committees, and the World Health Organization (2). This consensus has been challenged, often on the basis of assertion rather than scientific evidence. An assessment of the risk posed by BSE must inevitably be based on an assessment of a body of scientific information including evidence from transmission studies, molecular biology, and protein chemistry. However, currently the only direct evidence on whether or not BSE has caused disease in the human population is from epidemiologic surveillance.
KeywordsDura Mater Prion Disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Human Growth Hormone Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry
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