Page 3 | Mad Cow Disease The Great British Beef Scandal.

(83 Posts)
HelenaDove Thu 11-Jul-19 21:22:50

Is anyone else watching?

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Scaredofthecity Sat 13-Jul-19 20:23:18

I found this really interesting.

I work in theatres and just thought I'd clear a few things up...

vCJD transmission is taken very seriously. We minimise the risk as much as possible.

1. Any patient who has a known risk of vCJD and comes for an operation will be planned for months in advance. The instruments used will be destroyed afterwards.

2. All instruments are tracked carefully. There is a very clear paper trail.

3. There are separate instrument trays for brain and spinal surgery for patients born after 96. They are not mixed with the instruments used for pre-96 patients.

4. Most of the blood products we use (except red-cells) come from Europe or the US because of the potential risk of prion contamination.

Interestingly for a long time they thought that tonsils held prions and all tonsil surgery was performed with disposable instruments. Advice has now changed.

LashesZ Sat 13-Jul-19 20:30:49

Absolutely terrifying thing to watch knowing it could be a ticking time bomb.

I have come across a few patients with familial CJD and it is so, so sad. For the record, our instruments are sent away to be blasted in the washing machine for months if used on someone "at risk" of CJD.

HIVpos Sat 13-Jul-19 20:35:25


HIV doesn't show signs of being in blood until about a year after transmission, yet can still be passed on. So if you've done anything high risk for HIV transmission you must wait a year, then have a clean screening test, before you can donate blood. (unless it's changed)

Certainly not a year! Tests done now will show the HIV antigen, at about 14 days after contraction, and antibodies In about 95% of samples after 21-28 days

HelenaDove Sat 13-Jul-19 20:39:32

Just think there i a room in the House of Commons called the Thatcher Room.

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BobLobLawLLB Sat 13-Jul-19 20:43:17

Maybe it's time to stop eating the poor bastards......

HelenaDove Sat 13-Jul-19 20:49:30

Im stunned that this programme didnt get more of a reaction on here, Twitter and in general really.

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MythicalBiologicalFennel Sat 13-Jul-19 22:17:35

I agree HelenaDove

And this

How many people are told of the risk when counselled for a blood transfusion. I work in a hospital as a midwife and never heard a single Dr mention it to anyone.

It's all very hush hush in the UK - then you go abroad and find that blood donation if you have lived in the uk in certain periods is severely restricted or banned because of the very real, very serious risk.

I don't know if the general attitude is of relief that the initial wave has passed and of hope that it will all go away? I remember reading about CJD and that it's a potential time bomb for the NHS and the UK in general. I guess that nobody wants to talk about it because there is nothing that can be done about it.

jaggynettle Sat 13-Jul-19 22:35:29

Also the reason why you can't donate blood if you've been the recipient of a transfusion.

I'm sure this will hit the fan in a few years.

In the 80s my mum gave us cheap meat all the time as it was all she could afford. It scares the bejesus out of me to think a large portion of the population could have been exposed.

When I was a nurse I looked after a lady with "dementia" - however, after she died there were post mortem tests done via slides of her brain and it was confirmed she had vCJD.

HelenaDove Sat 13-Jul-19 22:40:39

This programme really needs to be seen by more people.

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bumblenbean Sun 14-Jul-19 08:21:30

The only slightly reassuring thing I suppose is that given the amount of people who must have been exposed a relatively small number with the first gene type developed the disease in the first ‘wave’ - does that suggest that some people are somehow immune or less susceptible? There are bound to be more cases but it doesn’t seem that every person exposed to contaminated meat will definitely go on to develop it. I’m clutching at straws here ...

AuntieGT Sun 14-Jul-19 09:03:37

I suppose if you’re elderly and you present with dementia like symptoms they don’t go poking around for another diagnosis, give CT scans and such like. That is scary. So there could be lots more cases of vCJD than we know about. Can’t help thinking it’s convenient for the gov/NHS to minimise the true number as much as possible too.

BertieBotts Sun 14-Jul-19 10:06:34

Oh thanks for the correction HIVPos - I must have had outdated info.

Very interesting to hear about the separation of surgical instruments. I've had surgery outside the UK (not spinal or brain though), I wonder if those would have been separated in the same way? Just thinking I've also had an epidural outside of the UK but I think the bits that contact are disposable there?

namechange35 Sun 14-Jul-19 18:21:58

I looked after someone with suspected CJD . I remember asking if I could catch it and being told there was no chance . I’m not sure how much I actually believe that to be honest .

Solewindow Sun 14-Jul-19 18:40:43

It was an interesting programme but having done some reading subsequently it was a bit over-traumatised in my opinion. The contributions largely came from scientists who are, entirely reasonably, pissed off that they weren't listened to at the outset.

Accordingto an interesting article in New Scientist they can test for it in appendices and they apparently screen removed appendices. I read that 1 in 2000 of us probably have the prion protein. What is POSITIVE news though is that based on the number who they think have the protein, and the proportion of people with the MM gene variant, they'd have expected many many more cases in the first wave of young people affected than were actually seen. In other words of the people who are in the hugh risk group and should have exhibited the disease swiftly, only a small proportion were affected.

The significance of the genes is that only the M gene is susceptible to being changed by the prion. Those with VV shouldn't be affected at all. Those with MV could be affected but because they have less M protein to start with the progress of the disease is much slower.

Mooey89 Sun 14-Jul-19 22:16:06

I watched it and it fucking terrified me - I was born in 89 but both my parents were veggie from about 93 - but I remember that because of that I was only allowed meat at school or when I stayed with other people - so all cheap 😂.

I’ve been properly veggie since I was 12 - but I guess I’m theory milk etc could be contaminated too?

I’ve also had a blood transfusion
What makes me sick is that it is such a man made avoidable disease.

I work with a lot of people who have neurological illnesses and I do wonder how you could tell the difference between vCJD and other degenerative neurological conditions.

HIVpos Sun 14-Jul-19 22:26:31

@namechange35 did you think you would be somehow exposed to the person you were looking after’s brain or spinal fluid? Or catch it in some other way? It does seem that only those of us with a certain gene are susceptible regardless.

As with anything, it’s important to keep it in context and not to scaremonger, rather learn the facts. As said, sometimes you have to dig deeper and read more viewpoints from reliable sources . There was some interesting info on this recently in another thread on blood donations with some great info from Solasshole in particular.

FloofenHoofen Sun 14-Jul-19 23:49:07

Solewindow that was what they originally thought but then more recently someone died of it and when they looked at his appendix there was no sign of it. So they realised that it wasn't an accurate source.

Firstimpressionsofearth Mon 15-Jul-19 11:57:58

btw it's not a new disease. it's been observed in sheep as well. and deer.

But aren't those naturally occurring illnesses that can't jump to other species. I thought the thing with bse was that it was due to the cows canabalising other cows brains and it was jumping to other species that then ate the brains and spines of the bse cows.

JuniperNarni Mon 15-Jul-19 12:37:42

I'm guessing that more people didn't watch it and it hasn't has had as much coverage as you'd think because people are ignorant to it. Exactly the same as I was before I watched it. I honestly thought it was all a thing of the past.

I watched it if anything to put my childhood fears to bed, the television coverage scared me silly as a child so I thought watching that would help me process it. Now it is more scary than it was then. I suppose for a lot of people it is a really tragic, horrible thing that happened back then but all is safe now so there wasn't that much interest in watching the footage be replayed.

Solewindow Mon 15-Jul-19 13:06:54


btw it's not a new disease. it's been observed in sheep as well. and deer.

But aren't those naturally occurring illnesses that can't jump to other species*

They're no different, it's just they haven't jumped, it's not guaranteed that they can't or won't.

Veterinari Mon 15-Jul-19 13:50:28

There’s a great podcast episode on this. The podcast is ‘this podcast will kill you’ It’s a really accessible look at different diseases and they cover prions.

I’m about to have surgery and have specifically requested no blood transfusions unless it’s a medical emergency. I used to date a doctor who had the same viewpoint - when you consider blood-transmissible diseases that have emerged over the past 50 years, the truth is that we can’t do anything about them until they’re already a problem and there are definite unknown infectious disease risks with routine blood transfusion

BertieBotts Mon 15-Jul-19 20:16:08

YY exactly Juniper. I wasn't aware of it at all as a child, either I was too young to be aware or DPs decided that they didn't want to scare me so didn't say anything about it. Though I do remember getting a daft chain email thing from my dad which had a joke about Mad Cow Disease in it.

I definitely assumed it was all in the past until I read that reddit comment three years ago about them being dormant for 30-50 years. I don't think most people realise this.

tenthreginald Mon 15-Jul-19 21:20:27

Well fuck me. That was rough viewing. Totally harrowing

HelenaDove Mon 15-Jul-19 23:21:42

On BBC2 again now.

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HelenaDove Mon 15-Jul-19 23:33:19

scientist says he found BSE does not act in the same way as scrapie

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