RUMINANTS GONE WILD: MAD COW AND CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE IN AMERICA
There’s this little protein thingy called a PRION.
…the “most intriguing, unsolved puzzle in modern biology” (Phillips, 1991).
Why because they aren’t even alive by any stretch of the imagination. At least with a virus you can pretend-even though purified it’s a crystalline powder-it’s alive and get away with it.
Prions sorry, they are not only the freakiest thing in the Devil’s Crucible but they are also the scariest because even though they are not alive we can’t kill them either! That actually sounds a lot like a vampire doesn’t it?
Prions are vampires.
Kids put on your Kimbies, (no that’s not a hat silly) adults strap on a pair or two of Attends and Let the experts warn you-be scared be really, really scared:
“…the whole concept of prions challenges the basic tenets of biology… Prions have also been called the “strangest thing in all biology” … It’s not known how they replicate… and because of their unique makeup, they are practically invulnerable. They are not adequately destroyed by cooking, canning, or freezing. Chemicals or enzymes which degrade nucleic acids, proteolytic enzymes of the digestive tract, and usable doses of UV or ionizing radiation are all ineffective in destroying their infectivity. Even heat sterilization, domestic bleach, and formaldehyde sterilization have little or no effect. One study even raised the disturbing question of whether even incineration could guarantee inactivation of prions. National Institutes of Health expert Joseph Gibbs remarked to Cornell’s Food Science Department that one of the only ways to ensure one’s beef is safe is to marinate it in a concentrated alkali such as Drain-O. Prions have been called the smallest, most lethal self-perpetuating biological entities in the world.”[Emphasis mine].
Now go and change your soiled diapers and read on.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
They “F” you up is what they do. As you recall there were a handful of deaths due to a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD in England in 1996. If you add them all up beginning in the late 1990s, more than 100 people contracted vCJD in the United Kingdom and several European countries after eating beef infected with mad cow disease. In 2011 there were two new cases in the UK, this brings the total number of cases reported in the UK to 176 of whom all 176 have died. Briefly CJD is a “slow virus” or more appropriately called a spongiform encephalopathy, a prion disease. Spongiform because it turns your brain into what looks like a sea sponge. It normally occurs about one in a million people spontaneously. It usually affects those over 60 years old and kills rapidly. This new exceedingly rare presentation affected the very young (20’s) causing hallucinations and dementia, took its time to Swiss cheese your brain (about a year) earning the title of the worst possible disease you can get. They died from what the British Secretary of Health called the worst form of death imaginable, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a relentlessly progressive and invariably fatal human dementia.
“The most defining characteristic, though, was found when their brains were autopsied. Along with psychiatric symptoms unusual to CJD, the brain pathology is vividly reminiscent of Kuru, a disease once found in a New Guinea tribe of cannibals who ate the brains of their dead. Referring to this purportedly new variant of the disease, Germany’s leading expert on CJD stated, “everything suggests that BSE is the cause…”
This was traced to the abhorrent practice of feeding dead, ground up sheep infected with another “slow” virus disease nearly identical to mad cow called ovine spongiform encephalopathy better known as scrapie (pronounced scrape eee) which was not supposed to affect any animal but sheep. Modern CAFO beef production business better known by the dysphemism Big Meat, feeds “protein concentrates” or kill floor scraps of inedible guts, organs, and fetuses from their own species back to them as well as the rendered guts and tubes of dead zoo creatures, road kill and euthanized pets.
It is the recycling of infected cows into cattle feed which is probably responsible for the explosive outbreak of mad cow in England. Mad cow or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, entered the food chain in the UK in the late 80’s as a kind of deranged accidental experiment of feeding various herbivores their own infected guts. The second phase of this gruesome experiment was the feeding of these cannibal cows to humans as hamburger. “The result of this experiment is awaited, “as we live through the incubation period” over the next decades.”
A hint of the massive spread of this indestructible protein within the UK was presented in the early 90”s when a house cat the now famous Max and then scores of zoo animals came down with spongiform encephalopathies. Then people started dying in the mid 90’s.
The British government finally agreed to kill millions of cattle and incinerate or pulp and bury them, the only problem is that prions can live for years in soil and can be harbored by insects!
As usual, the actual destruction of the cattle on a large scale never happened while… the British government has at all stages concealed facts and corrupted evidence in order to protect the UK’s 5 billion dollar Big Meat industry.
Likewise in the US the USDA with 100,000,000 cattle in an industry worth 150 billion continues to bellow there is no BSE in America yet refuses to let private cattle ranches test their own livestock for independent assurances to potential buyers from countries like Japan.
THE BRITISH ARE COMING!
In 1993 BSE hit North America with the first documented case in a cow from Alberta, Canada which was imported along with hundreds of others from the UK. The importation of beef from Great Britain has since been banned but offers little consolation. The picture in the U.K. is an uneasy mirror image of the US, the only problem is we don’t know it yet. So far there have been four confirmed cases of BSE in cows in the United States — in a Canadian-born cow in 2003 in Washington state, in 2005 in Texas and in 2006 in Alabama and most recently a California dairy cow in 2012 dead at 30 months and supposedly selected for random testing at the rendering plant. They claim it was not a “downer “ cow but it died at the dairy and was not even 3 years old.
In fact, for every “mad” cow incinerated in the U.K., there may be hundreds slaughtered and sold to butchers before any overt symptoms have developed. Dr. Narang [virologist and the inventor of a BSE test kit] estimates that a third of all British cattle going into the food chain are infected with BSE. In the Journal of Public Health Medicine, Dealler, the microbiologist, wrote, “in all probability most humans who have consumed British beef since the start of the BSE epidemic will have been exposed [to the infection]. . .” It is estimated that every adult in the U.K. has eaten on average 50 meals containing tissue from infected cattle. In America it may be even harder to stop infected cattle from entering the food supply since dairy cattle are routinely culled earlier than in Britain [and hence less time to display any symptoms].
US CATTLE HARBOR A NEW UNRECOGNIZED FORM OF BSE
The implications are dreadful. It appears that a special variant of BSE may be proliferating unchecked in America’s downer cows and by implication all cattle since downers become feed for other cows including cows like us. And as Nobel Laoreate Stanley Prusiner mentioned the calves are fed cow blood which is a “really stupid idea” to complete the cannibal chain (CANNIBAL CIRCUIT NUMBER ONE) and insure amplification of prion disease.
As early as 1985, a year before the Brits reported their first case of BSE, Dr. Marsh, chairman of the Dept. of Veterinary Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was alerting dairy farmers of the possibility that a “previously unrecognized scrapie-like disease in cattle” existed in the US. The shocker came with strong supporting evidence of a massive die off of mink, often considered the land version of a coal mine canary, in a Wisconsin fur farm. The most perplexing part of this was when researchers feed mink scrapie infected sheep brains they do not get sick. However, mink have been wiped out in Wisconsin on 4 separate occasions since the 60’s with a scrapie-like spongiform encephalopathy called TME. The last time the mink ate only from the trough of killed downer cows-no sheep were present in that particular batch of feed! Dr Marsh believes that in those cows there was a form of BSE that presents more as a “downer” cow than a “mad” cow. Each year the US harvests tens of thousands of downers. If they can be kept alive long enough they end up on our menu as hamburger and even gelatin capsules or marshmallows otherwise as pet and animal feed.
In response the USDA started testing downers but it has been fraught with misinformation, outdated, and inadequate testing techniques. Dr Marsh explains that you could easily miss a thousand infected cows this way. The USDA supposedly randomly tests 40,000 cows per year. Do the math that’s 40,000 out of 100 million head of cattle. You might as well not even test which I believe is really what they would rather do. That way if you don’t look you can’t find it. Who cares right? It’s only your brain not the USDA opportunist’s brains on the line.
In the UK BSE symptoms were of a “maddened” cow kicking and thrashing about. The critical test came when researchers inoculated the brains of American cows with scrapie infected sheep. The result? Scrapie-infected cows instead staggered to their deaths like downer cows do. These experiments support belief in a form of BSE native to the United States.
Scientists with the French government claim to have found the first experimental evidence of a link between BSE and CJD. Macaque monkeys infected with BSE showed brain lesions identical to those previously thought to be unique to the victims of the new form of CJD. This provides the strongest evidence to date to support the hypothesis that BSE is responsible for the emergence of the new variant of CJD in humans.
More recent studies suggest that mad cow disease in America produces not only vCJD but also the sporadic version in humans who eat infected beef. The researchers concluded that “it is therefore possible that some patients with [what looks like]… sporadic CJD may have a disease arising from BSE exposure.” Laura Manuelidis, section chief of surgery in the neuropathology department at Yale University comments, “Now people are beginning to realize that because something looks like sporadic CJD they can’t necessarily conclude that it’s not linked to [Mad Cow disease]…”
Then in 2001 French researchers found that a strain of scrapie caused the exact same brain damage in specially prepared mice to respond as humans would when infected. “This means we cannot rule out that at least some sporadic CJD may be caused by some strains of scrapie,” says team member Jean-Philippe Deslys of the French Atomic Energy Commission’s medical research laboratory.” Moreover, scrapie remains such a problem in the US that the USDA has issued a scrapie emergency. Also remember that sheep guts are fed to cows and therefore the indestructible scrapie prion is probably right now in our brains.
Paul Brown, medical director for the U.S. Public Health Service, believes that pigs and poultry could be harboring BSE and passing it on to humans, adding that pigs are especially sensitive to the disease. Yet the USDA-the enforcement arm of Big Agra-still allows cow guts to be fed to pigs claiming that there has never been a case of mad pig in America. However, critics contend that there was indeed an outbreak of mad pig in New York 25 years ago which the USDA refuses to re-open (generally a sign of guilt) and allow scientists to study the tissue remains. Not to mention that we certainly have downer pigs by the buckets. Scientists also warn that the simple enjoyment of eating your Easter ham now poses a ten times greater risk in getting CJD. Of course you also have pig parts used for medical products and research such as heart valves and skin which could be yet another way that we are exposed to this horrific curse.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE ON THIS SUBJECT.
 J Infect Dis. 1990 Mar;161(3):467-72.