Expert wants coroners to test for mad cow

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LONDON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- A British expert on the human form of mad cow disease says it is essential that coroners test the brains and spleens of all young people who die.

Professor John Collinge says without post-mortem tests for the infection it is impossible to get accurate information on how many people in Britain may be carrying it, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

Collinge, a member of a government panel monitoring the progress of spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, says systematic testing is vital to stopping its spread.

So far, 164 people in Britain are confirmed to have died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of mad cow.

Under British law, coroners aren't required to test for the infectious agent, a protein known as a prion.

"At the end of the day, they are public servants and their job is to protect us," says Christine Lord, whose son died of the disease. "This is a public health issue."



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