Filed Under: Mad Cow Disease

The epidemic that never was

British public health consultant George Venters has an interesting take on the worldwide human health panic whipped up over “mad cows” and “mad deer.” Venters calls it “terrifying a population to keep interest going in a rare disease.”

This and other viewpoints were recently shared in a London Times column by Magnus Linklater. He notes that even in the UK, where mad cow disease made its first (and only significant) dent in the human population, “there have been 15 cases this year, down from 20 last year, and 28 the year before. That is approximately one in three million. The numbers are, in fact, falling, not rising.”

By way of comparison, the flu kills nearly 9,000 people every year in the UK.

And, in case you haven’t yet checked out our groundbreaking report on the mad-cow scare here in the United States, it’s worth repeating that not a single person has contracted mad cow disease in the whole of North America.

This, of course, won’t stop professional scaremongers like John Stauber (of the misnamed Center for Media and Democracy) from trying to convince an unwary public otherwise. Stauber is scheduled to appear on Wisconsin Public Radio tomorrow, no doubt to flog his now threadbare thesis that Chronic Wasting Disease in North American deer is really just mad cow disease in disguise.

Stauber has also set up an entire website to track articles on so-called “mad deer,” but he hasn’t managed to turn up any reputable science to justify his alarm.

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