MORE ON vCJD MORTALITY
A modelling study reported in Nature [Vol. 406, Issue 6796 (2000), p. 583] predicts that, on average, no more than two cases of variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (vCJD) could arise in humans from consumption of a cow infected with BSE. Neil Ferguson and colleagues of the University of Oxford, UK explain in a Brief Communication that their model (which explored more than five million combinations of parameters) also indicates that people under 40 must either be more susceptible to vCJD infection or have been more highly exposed to the infective agent.
The researchers show that the current mortality data are consistent with there being between 63 and 136,000 cases among people known to have a susceptible genotype (about 40% of the population). These upper and lower limits depend on the incubation period of the disease, which is not yet clear. But Ferguson and colleagues’ model implies that a large number - more than 6,000 cases - would only arise if the mean incubation period is about the same length as the average human life expectancy.
Neil Ferguson tel +44 1865 281 228,
fax +44 1865 281 245,
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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