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Sacred Disease Of Our Times: Failure Of The Infectious Disease Model Of Spongiform Encephalopathy, Vivian Mcalister May 2005

Sacred Disease Of Our Times: Failure Of The Infectious Disease Model Of Spongiform Encephalopathy, Vivian Mcalister

Vivian C. McAlister

BACKGROUND: Public health and agricultural policy attempts to keep bovine spongiform encephalopathy out of North America using infectious disease containment policies. Inconsistencies of the infectious disease model as it applies to the spongiform encephalopathies may result in failure of these policies.

METHODS: Review of historical, political and scientific literature to determine the appropriate disease model of spongiform encephalopathy.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Spongiform encephalopathy has always occurred sporadically in man and other animals. Hippocrates may have described it in goats and cattle. Transmission of spongiform encephalopathy between individuals is too uncommon for it to be usefully considered an infection. Spongiform encephalopathy is ...


Osler And The Infected Letter, Charles T. Ambrose May 2005

Osler And The Infected Letter, Charles T. Ambrose

Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics Faculty Publications

The spread of infectious agents through the mail has concerned public health officials for 5 centuries. The dissemination of anthrax spores in the US mail in 2001 was a recent example. In 1901, two medical journals reported outbreaks of smallpox presumably introduced by letters contaminated with variola viruses. The stability and infectivity of the smallpox virus are reviewed from both a historical (anecdotal) perspective and modern virologic studies. Bubonic plague was the contagious disease that led to quarantines as early as the 14th century in port cities in southern Europe. Later, smallpox, cholera, typhus, and yellow fever were recognized as ...