Silver said:GB had 82 cases in 2004, 173 in 2003, 445 in 2002, 781 in 2002, 1311 in 2001, you get the picture. Either they are getting immune to it or the feed ban is working. Safe money goes with the feed ban. Which leads me to believe we will be seeing the end of it here shortly, at least back to historic, natural levels (whatever they are, know one will ever know). But that's just IMHO. Seems fairly logical though.
All the people who have died from vCJD are identical genotype: Met/Met at codon 129. The majority are very young 13 - 29. The supposition is that during the BSE epidemic, some food product -- possibly baby food -- was consumed by a highly susceptible group, either babies or very young children with this genotype, who then came down with the disease 10 - 15 years later.
The number infected presumably was greatly reduced because of the massive destruction of whole flocks, the removal of SRMs (including tonsils, eyes, spinal cord, brains, and the small intestines) , widespread testing. So we should see fewer deaths. There are two related bell curves -- the cattle epidemic and the human epidemic. The latter is chronologically later.
They did a study of 12,000 tonsils and appendices that they have kept anonymously in 2000. The results of that study show that up to 4,000 more people could be asymptomatic carriers or incubating vCJD (a certain percentage of the tonsils and appendices had misfolded prions).
The news is mostly good with respect to trends in vCJD. The tonsil study and the fact that one of the blood recipients was NOT of the Met/Met genotype are somewhat worrisome.
As with cattle and BSE, it appears that humans and vCJD are most susceptible at an early age when the digestive system is immature and has not closed off an entryway (I can find the details if you wish). This is a hypthesis that the facts support and that a growing number of scientists accept.
Murgen - I'll have to go look for the exact answer but from what I read, parts that should have been, were allowed into baby food, prior to the BSE epidemic. I did not say "muscle meat." This is prior to SRMs being removed, at the height of the epidemic. Baby food regulations were changed to restrict such parts once the connection between BSE and vCJD was accepted by the majority of the UK government and scientific community. There is a lively discussion around baby food and BSE in the multi-volume BSE Findings from the UK.