Permanent Monitoring Panel -
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy
Members of the Panel:
Robert Will (UK)
Herbert Budka (Austria); Carleton Gajdusek (France); Bernardino
Ghetti (USA); Maura Ricketts (Canada/Switzerland)
Paul Brown (USA); Colin Masters (Australia)
Summary of the Emergency
An outbreak of a 'new variant' of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) has
occurred within the past few years in Great Britain. It has been traced to a
similar disease in cattle called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or 'mad
cow disease'), and has probably resulted from the consumption of beef containing
BSE has also occurred in other European countries as a result of the
importation of live cattle or cattle feed, and it is feared that nvCJD may be
incubating in people living outside as well as inside Great Britain.
Precautionary measures to prevent further spread of the disease from cattle to
humans or between humans are under consideration in countries that have imported
products derived from cattle (e.g., gelatin) or humans (e.g.,gamma globulin)
from countries in which BSE or nvCJD have occurred.
Priorities in dealing with the Emergency
The primary goal of this Panel for the coming year will be to create an
up-to-date body of material on various aspects of TSE, including the new variant
of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease resulting from exposure to bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, for inclusion in the WFS home page on the world wide web.
A second important goal will be an exploration of ways by which urgent issues
can be brought to the attention of individuals who are in a position to do
something about their prevention or amelioration. One approach would be to
convene a session at a future Annual Planetary Emergencies meeting in Erice with
the specific topic of translating ideas into action; speakers would include
prominent individuals who have devoted their careers in the world arenas of
politics, communications, and finance.
Papers giving further details on TSE