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We studied the occurrence of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) outside the United Kingdom in relation to the incidence of indigenous bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and to the level of live bovines and bovine products imported from the UK during the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. Our study provides evidence that a country's number of vCJD cases correlates with the number of live bovines it imported from the UK from 1980 to 1990 (Spearman rank correlation coefficient [r(s)] 0.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.42-0.89, p < 0.001). Similar correlations were observed with the number of indigenous BSE cases (r(s) 0.70, 95% CI 0.37-0.87, p = 0.001) and carcass meat imported from the UK from 1980 to 1996 (r(s) 0.75, 95% CI 0.45-0.89; p < 0.001) Bovine imports from the UK may have been an important source of human exposure to BSE and may have contributed to the global risk for disease.

Original publication

DOI

10.3201/eid1308.070178

Type

Journal article

Journal

Emerg Infect Dis

Publication Date

08/2007

Volume

13

Pages

1166 - 1169

Keywords

Animals, Cattle, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome, Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform, European Union, France, Humans, Meat, Meat Products, United Kingdom