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Centers for Disease Control
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  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


BSE Meeting at CDC The recent report of a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (V-CJD) in Great Brit- ain and the possible link between the disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has raised a number of health and safety concerns (1,2). On April 8, 1996, CDC organized a meeting of U.S. agency representatives to review informa- tion about the report of U.K. cases and about efforts to identify the existence of BSE and V-CJD in the United States. The meeting covered the scientific evidence for the report of V-CJD; recom- mendations from a meeting of international ex- perts organized by the World Health Organization on April 2-3; and the current and proposed activi- ties of U.S. agencies with regard to BSE and V-CJD. Among the observations made during the meet- ing were the following: • There is no evidence from U.S. surveillance activities or from scientific studies to indicate that BSE exists in the United States. • Active surveillance for BSE is conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). All cattle presented for slaughter in the United States are observed for signs of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Livestock showing CNS signs are condemned and not allowed to enter the slaughter plant or to become part of the human food supply. Since 1990, laboratory testing of nearly 2,800 brain specimens from cattle with CNS signs has shown no evidence of BSE. • No U.K. cattle or ruminant-based feed has been imported into the United States since July 1989, when USDA banned the importation of cattle and cattle products from the United Kingdom. U.K. cattle imported before the ban will be destroyed as a precaution to ensure that these animals do not enter the food chain (hu- man or animal). • The Food and Drug Administration plans to issue a ban on ruminant-to-ruminant feeding in the United States. • Additional research is needed on the charac- terization of the causative agent of BSE and on the epidemiology, rapid laboratory diagnosis, and pathogenesis of BSE and

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