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France set to end 'mad cow' probe with no charges

A Paris prosecutor has recommended closing a 17-year-investigation into how "mad cow" disease killed at least 27 people in France with no charges being brought, judicial sources revealed Monday. The recommendation, which was made back in November but was not made public, followed the conclusion of a probe launched in 1997 that aimed to establish whether anyone could be held responsible for one of the worst public health disasters of the 20th century.

18 North Carolina patients may have been exposed to rare brain disease

By Colleen Jenkins and Marina Lopes WINSTON-SALEM, N.C./NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eighteen neurological patients in North Carolina may have been exposed to an incurable and fatal degenerative brain disease while undergoing surgery at the Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center because surgical instruments were insufficiently sterilized, the hospital said on Monday.

Mad cow disease: One in 2,000 in UK carry protein

Around one person in 2,000 in Britain carries the protein linked to the human version of mad cow disease, a figure higher than previous estimates, a study said on Tuesday. But how many people will actually develop the crippling and ultimately fatal disease is unknown, its authors say. They also warn Britain to fight the risk of wider contamination through blood transfusions and surgical instruments.

Mad cow disease: One in 2,000 in UK carry protein

Around one person in 2,000 in Britain carries the protein linked to the human version of mad cow disease, a figure higher than previous estimates, a study said on Tuesday. But how many people will actually develop the crippling and ultimately fatal disease is unknown, its authors say. They also warn Britain to fight the risk of wider contamination through blood transfusions and surgical instruments.

More U.S. patients feared at risk of rare brain disease

By Richard Valdmanis BOSTON (Reuters) - Connecticut said on Friday that two patients who recently underwent surgery at a VA Hospital may have been exposed to a rare brain disease, adding to 13 people already reported at risk in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Thirteen New England patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease

By Richard Valdmanis BOSTON (Reuters) - Thirteen people who recently underwent neurosurgery in Massachusetts and New Hampshire may have been exposed to a rare and fatal brain condition similar to "mad cow" disease because of potentially infected surgical instruments.

New Hampshire says eight hospital patients may have been exposed to brain disease

BOSTON (Reuters) - New Hampshire's health department warned on Wednesday that eight patients who recently underwent neurosurgery at a Manchester hospital may have been exposed to a rare brain disease. The exposure may have been the result of a surgery on a ninth patient, who the state department of health and human services said is now believed to have had a sporadic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a condition similar to "mad cow" disease but not linked to beef consumption.

One case of rare brain disease confirmed in B.C.; two other cases now suspected

VANCOUVER - One case of a rare, degenerative brain disease has been confirmed in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, and a health official says two other cases are now suspected. However Paul Van Buynder, chief medical officer for the Fraser Health authority, said late Friday that even if the two suspected cases end up being Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease it's not "drastically unusual." The confirmed case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, was a resident in a long-term care home who died a year ago, Van Buynder said.

Governments, experts worry about spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk

Experts say it may not be possible to eliminate chronic wasting disease in deer and elk in Canada. The fatal infectious disease is so well established in Saskatchewan and Alberta that the federal government and some provinces are rethinking how to deal with what is commonly known as CWD. In 2005, Ottawa announced a national strategy to control chronic wasting disease in the hope of finding ways to eradicate it. Now the emphasis is shifting to preventing CWD from spreading, especially in the wild.

Safer mad cow rating could boost U.S. beef exports

By Ros Krasny WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has upgraded the United States' risk classification for mad cow disease to its safest level, which could increase U.S. beef exports, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday. The decision to rank the United States' risk as "negligible" instead of "controlled" came at the OIE's annual meeting in Paris. Its scientific arm earlier recommended the upgrade after reviewing U.S. safeguards.
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