Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Scientist or activist?

Dr. Elizabeth S. Williams, researcher at the University of Wyoming, has been a full time researcher of Chronic Wasting Disease. How does a “scientist” promote the need to attain research dollars without exaggerating the problem? I am pretty sure this scientist doesn’t know the answer to that one. Nature.com printed this article yesterday morning, and as of right now, I know of 15 newspapers that have used it to scare the public about BSE and/or CWD. Read this….

Here we compare the incidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) that is attributable to horizontal or maternal transmission. We find that horizontal transmission is remarkably efficient, producing a high incidence of disease (89%) in a cohort of deer in which maternal transmission was improbable. Our results indicate that horizontal transmission is likely to be important in sustaining CWD epidemics.

Although prion diseases have emerged worldwide as a threat to human and animal health, they are incompletely understood.

Now remember that we have had 132 deaths worldwide due to vCJD as a result of BSE. We have had ZERO humans affected by CWD and less than 500 confirmed cases in the cervid population in the history of the United States. Furthermore, with a cervid population of over 30 million, this “scientist” made “significant” findings by testing less than 20 head of deer. I am no statistician but I know a couple and they agree that the numbers are a little lacking.

I found this from 1998 and thought you would find an interesting correlation:

Wyoming has yet to issue health recommendations for deer and elk hunters, but "the risk is so small, I wouldn't worry about it at all," says Tom Thorne of Wyoming Game and Fish, who adds that he regularly hunts and eats deer from southeastern Wyoming.

The spread of the disease among captive animals may represent a more immediate threat.

"This is probably going to cause quite a bit of problem in the game-farm industry," says Wyoming's Tom Thorne.

What you need to know is that Tom Thorne is married to Elizabeth Williams, humm…? Also, notice their implication that BSE is looming even though this study is only about CWD and there have been no confirmed cases of BSE in the US. But shouldn’t consumers always be on the lookout for it?

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