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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 8th May 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 8th May 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Sir Ralph Howell: To ask the Prime Minister what evidence he has evaluated proving a link between BSE and (a) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and (b) other human diseases.

The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health made a statement on 20 March, Official Report, columns 375-76, relating to the expert scientific advice received from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee about the previously unrecognised form of CJD. SEAC's advice is that, although there is no direct evidence of a link, on current data and in the absence of any credible alternative, the most likely explanation at present is that these cases are linked to exposure to BSE before the introduction of the specified bovine offals ban in 1989. The findings of the national CJD surveillance unit, on which that advice was based, have since been published in The Lancet of 6 April 1996.

We have not yet received any advice to suggest that BSE might be linked to other human diseases.