Mad Cow Lives

Just spelunking through various health feeds, and I caught this: the UK's monthly report on cases of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, the brain disease thought to be brought on by renegade prions. It's a pretty stark assessment. First they list total deaths related to definite or probable CJD, year to date (161), then the number of definite or probable cases still alive (165). Considering there's no known treatment, there's not exactly rosy prospects for that bunch. It's funny thing: In the UK, CJD is one of those crazy diseases that, almost 20 years in, they're pretty used to, all things considered, dutiful mortality reports and all (though I suspect it's a reason they come up with great movies like 28 Days Later and Children of Men and we come up with, uh, Outbreak). In the US, though, the disease is still almost totally unheard of (it is literally a one-in-a-million disease). And were we to start getting lots of cases, well you'd see panic, and economic repurcussions, and false diagnoses, and all sorts of crazy stuff. Remarkable how an ocean is still a world of difference.

Thomas Goetz1 Comment