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From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: Mad cow disease may come from people, not animals ?
Date: September 3, 2005 at 2:01 pm PST

In Reply to: Mad cow disease may come from people, not animals ? posted by TSS on September 1, 2005 at 11:59 am:

India dismisses Lancet's mad cow


NEW DELHI: The government is furious about a hypothesis that the epidemic of mad cow disease which struck Europe had its roots in exports, decades ago, of animal feed and bones from South Asia which included human remains scavenged from the Ganga.

Published in the reputed medical journal Lancet, this hypothesis has been picked up by the world’s media.
The government fears this could erode India’s trade advantage of being a country free of the mad cow disease."Misleading, highly mischievous, a figment of imagination, absurd," says India’s animal husbandry secretary P M A Hakeem, seeing in it a design to damage India’s trade.

India earned nearly Rs 1,700 crore from export of meat and meat products in 2003-04. It has been maintaining constant surveillance and has not had a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), mad cow disease, or its human form, variant CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease).

"The fact that we are BSE-free is a strong point and people don’t like it too much,"says animal husbandry commissioner S K Bandhopadhyay. In the last few years, he says, there has been a shortage of feed and fodder and exports haven’t been allowed. No ruminant origin material is allowed in cattle feed — nothing from cattle, sheep, goats, for instance.

Officials at the Indian Council for Medical Research are as scathing. A senior epidemiologist said: "In India, we haven’t had a single case when cattle or sheep have died of mad cow disease. In the absence of any evidence, how can one support this study? This is just a weird guess which will not hold water. The report can only be given a chance if the researchers can give evidence of feed exported from India being infected."

The hypothesis, adds Hakeem, stands on someone having possibly spotted a human corpse in the Ganga and imagining the rest.


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