Deadly Feasts: The “Prion” Controversy and the Public’s Health
a book by Richard Rhodes
(our site's book review)
In this brilliant and gripping medical detective story, Richard Rhodes follows virus hunters on three continents as they track the emergence of a deadly new brain disease that first kills cannibals in New Guinea and then cattle and young people in Britain and France—and that has already been traced to food animals in the United States. In a new Afterword for the paperback. Rhodes reports the latent U.S. and worldwide developments of a burgeoning global threat.
Deadly Feasts: The “Prion” Controversy and the Public’s Health follows the trail of a group of related human and animal diseases spreading around the world. Collectively they have come to be called prion diseases, the best-known being mad-cow disease, and already it is believed by some in Britain and elsewhere in Europe that there is danger in eating beef, and possibly also lamb, venison, pork and chicken. The author raises the spectre of what he contends is an ineradicable, untreatable, fatal disease whose spread is insidious and, unless urgent action is taken, unstoppable. The book calls into question the wisdom of transplants and the safety of milk, meat, gelatine, soap, surgical sutures, supplements in processed foods, and even leather goods and common garden bonemeal.
Mad-cow disease is an ineradicable, untreatable, fatal disease whose spread is insidious and, unless urgent action is taken, unstoppable
Deadly Feasts: The “Prion” Controversy and the Public’s Health says that "From a government perspective, a more limited North American response is reasonable because no cattle are known to have died of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) here. From the perspective of those of us who live here, anything less than the most effective possible barrier against the insidious spread of a stealthy, untreatable, incurable and invariably lethal disease is gambling with our lives. Would we be comfortable knowing that only partial protection had been installed against HIV contaminating our commercial blood supply, if the virus were killing people elsewhere but had not yet found its way to where we live? That’s how much protection the American governments have mandated against animal TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies)."
We count on our commercial blood supply to be safe from HIV and mad-cow disease