BSE and vCJD: Their biology and management
BSE and vCJD: Their biology and management

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BSE and vCJD: Their biology and management

7 Managing the BSE/vCJD episode: an overview

Having concentrated so far on the 'science' behind BSE and vCJD, we now turn our attention to how the episode was managed by scientists, politicians and other relevant decision makers. Not surprisingly, we shall find that the themes of communication, risk and ethical issues are inextricably linked to that of decision making (at local, national and international levels).

Over the years, the UK Government implemented a great many Orders and Regulations, amending several of these more than once. The European Commission (EC) of initially the European Economic Community (EEC) and later the European Union (EU) also issued various Decisions, Directives, etc. Fully cataloguing the legal framework under which BSE (and hence vCJD) has been dealt with would be tedious in the extreme! Therefore, Sections 8-10 respectively present in outline a 'history' of how the episode was handled during the following periods:

  • up to May 1990 (when an incident occurred that came to epitomise official attempts to reassure the public);

  • from May 1990 to March 1996 (when the probable link between BSE and vCJD was announced);

  • from March 1996 to the time of writing (2005).

Section 11 looks briefly at the official inquiries into BSE/vCJD. The international dimension is considered in Section 12.

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