Experts predict SECOND wave of Mad Cow disease deaths - and here's who's at risk

Mad Cow Disease: The Great British Beef Scandal reveals the groups most exposed to infected meat and why many could be 'silent carriers'


By Frances Kindon, Mirror (UK)   

8 JUL 2019


It was considered to be an epidemic of the nineties, with almost 200 people dying after eating infected beef they'd been assured was safe.


But experts have now terrifyingly warned that a second wave of Mad Cow disease deaths could be coming after they worked out that for some people, the disease has an incubation period of between 30 and 50 years.


And certain groups are more at risk than others.


Anyone who ate beef between 1986 and 1989 will have eaten several meals infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease), a BBC investigation has revealed, meaning they could be incubating the killer illness without even realising.


In BBC2's Mad Cow Disease: The Great British Beef Scandal, Richard Knight, Professor of Neurology at the CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh warns, “There is still so much uncertainty. And one of the things that is uncertain is how many people in the UK are silently infected.


“At the moment I have to say we are simply not sure, but every prediction suggests there are going to be further cases."


Little has changed in the treatment and diagnosis of the disease since 19-year-old Stephen Churchill, of Devizes, Wiltshire, became the first victim in 1995 - five years after eating infected meat.


You still cannot test for it and there is still no cure. Everyone known to have contracted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - the human form of Mad Cow - has died.


The reason it's so fatal is that the infectious agents are composed of one of the body's own proteins so the immune system doesn't know to fight it.


So who is at risk?


The documentary reveals how a perfect storm of decisions allowed a disease to flourish and infect certain groups...