The 'Mad' Disease Has Many Forms

PR Watch staffers Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber wrote Mad Cow USA in 1997. This report by the chemical industry's official publication does a very good job of updating developments since then. "Has the U.S. government taken sufficient measures to keep it from infecting humans?" asks reporter Bette Hileman. "For years after BSE first appeared in Britain, authorities believed the disease would not spread beyond the U.K. They also believed it would not jump species to infect humans. ... They were wrong. Over the past year, BSE has cropped up in 12 European countries and as far afield as Canada and Oman. It is not known how many human victims vCJD will eventually claim. ... Some scientists are also concerned that blood donations from people unknowingly infected with vCJD will contaminate part of the blood supply. And they worry that if BSE does show up in U.S. cattle, it may spread quickly because the U.S. still renders cattle into feed for pigs and poultry, and sometimes this feed is inadvertently given to cows. ... Moreover, experts worry that a similar prion disease called chronic wasting disease (CWD), now infecting deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming, could sicken humans or cattle."