BSE outbreak: government acknowledges a link with vCJD in humans

Research published in March 1996 showed the link between BSE in cows and vCJD. The first victim of a variant of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD) died in 1995, closely followed by three more similar deaths.

On 20 March 1996, Secretary of State for Health, Stephen Dorrell, announced in Parliament that 10 people had contracted vCJD and it was probable that they had caught BSE.

The acknowledgment that the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) disease had spread to humans followed years of denial by the government and industry. It came 10 years after it was first identified in cattle.

By September 2000 there had been over 80 cases.

The EU imposed a ban on British beef in 1996. In December 1997, the government imposed a ban on beef on the bone as a public protection measure.


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