LETTER: Organic health

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The Independent Online
Sir: You are quite right ("Where is the CJD epidemic?", 11 April) - there is no question of an "epidemic" and there never will be what is generally understood by the word "epidemic". We are not dealing with smallpox or typhoid here: this organism is not a bacterium or an ordinary virus - it is unique and the majority of humans are not likely to be susceptible to it however big a dose they have swallowed.

What is important about these newly-reported cases of CJD in the UK is that they are all so young. Classical CJD does not declare itself until the sufferers are in their sixties or older. Here, in the UK, we suddenly see the disease behaving in a new way, namely appearing in ten people under the age of 40, half of them under 20. What is there about the UK that might have caused it?

H C Grant

London NW3