|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Our bilateral relationship is in excellent shape. To enhance it even further we are developing, in collaboration with the private sector, a major initiative for 1997 entitled "New Images". This will offer an exciting series of contemporary events reflecting the strengths and the variety of our relationship with Australia. Partnership and youth are key themes. The Australian Government will mount a parallel programme in Britain.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have repeatedly urged the parties to comply with their international obligations and arrest and transfer anyone indicted for alleged war crimes to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Data on the incidence of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease worldwide were published in the Fourth Annual Report of the National CJD Surveillance Unit, August 1995 (page 9), copies of which are available in the Library.
Baroness Cumberlege: The centrally directed programme of research announced by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health on 25th March will include studies, including strain typing, which will address the question of the link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
Lord Lucas: Rendering is a process of crushing, cooking and sometimes grinding the whole or part of any dead animal in rendering plants. Such rendering plants must be approved by the appropriate Minister, meeting processing standards laid down in Community law. In the case of cattle slaughtered under the 30-month scheme, the rendering plants being used are those approved under the Specified Bovine Material (No. 2) Order 1996 (SI 1192/96).
Lord Lucas: The Government do not routinely hold information on quantities of veterinary medicines sold. Information on the use of organophosphorus compounds in Guernsey is a matter for the authorities on the island. However, in its report, Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathies, A Summary of Present Knowledge and Research, published in September 1994 (ISBN 0-11-242-9874), the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee has commented that organophosphorus compounds are not significantly used on Guernsey.
Lord Lucas: When an animal is reported as a suspect, a veterinary officer from the State Veterinary Service carries out an investigation. This will involve differential diagnosis on the basis of clinical signs to determine whether or not a number of other conditions which present similar symptoms are present. If the veterinary officer believes that the animal is a BSE suspect then it is slaughtered and the brain sent for histopathological examination. For technical reasons related to the treatment necessary of the brain samples for microscopical diagnosis, this takes several weeks. A negative diagnosis is given where the typical vacuolation expected at specific target sites in confirmed cases is absent. These criteria have been published by Wells, G A H and others in Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: diagnostic significance of vacuolar changes in selected nuclei of the medulla oblongata; Vet Record (1989) 125, 521-524. It is not generally possible thereafter when a negative result is confirmed, to carry out further investigations into the nature of the disease. There are a number of conditions which show symptoms similar to BSE, including hypo magnesaemia, hypocalcaemia, ketosis, listeriosis and neoplasia of the central nervous system.
Lord Lucas: Intracerebral challenge of BSE infected material is a useful indication of the potential for transmissibility of the disease to the species being challenged. However there are species, such as the pig, which are clearly susceptible to intracerebral challenge with the BSE agent but nevertheless appear so far in experiments to resist challenge through the oral route. It is well known that the oral route is considerably less efficient than the intracerebral route and that in mice approximately 100,000 times more infective material has to be used orally to establish the disease than by intracerebral injection.
Lord Lucas: None of the strains of scrapie which have been tested in the special panel of different strains of mice have shown the same characteristic pattern of disease in those mice as the BSE agent.
As I said in answer to the noble Countess's question of 27th June (Official Report Column 75), the fact that scrapie is changed by passage through other species but BSE is invariant suggests that if BSE was derived from a scrapie strain (as we suspect to be the case) it might well react differently from that strain in the mouse panel.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page