BSE cases down but CJD on increase

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The BSE epidemic is starting to drop off in line with scientists' predictions, a Government report stated yesterday. But the number of known cases of "variant" CJD, the human form of the disease, has increased to 74.

The BSE epidemic is starting to drop off in line with scientists' predictions, a Government report stated yesterday. But the number of known cases of "variant" CJD, the human form of the disease, has increased to 74.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food study comes a day after the department played down fears that up to eight more cows may have contracted BSE because of inadequate measures to eradicate it.

The progress report outlined the measures taken to protect public health in the six months from December 1999.It stated that BSE cases have already shown a dramatic decline and that the situation was due to improve further in the future.

On average about 30 new cases were being found each month, compared to 1,000 a month at the height of the epidemic in 1993.

The number of infected cattle in 1999 was 30.5 per cent lower than the same period in 1998. Almost two-thirds of herds with breeding cattle have never had a case of BSE.

However, 63 people had died of vCJD by the end of June 2000, with three provisional victims who had already died and a further seven still alive but believed to have the disease.

On Sunday, the Government said there was no new outbreak of BSE. There was only one confirmed case of BSE in July, a spokesman said.

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