What's happening is that some of these people are donating blood, and the recipients of these blood transfusions are subsequently dying from vCJD. In the most recent news, a person has now died from vCJD who was in a genetic subgroup that was previously thought to be immune to the infection, but now that this person has been found to harbor the human form of mad cow disease, it opens up the possibility that the majority of the UK population could be susceptible to mad cow disease.
By the way, there's no difference between bovine mad cow disease and the human form of mad cow disease. It's the same prions -- or bent proteins -- it's just that they're present in one species or another. Humans can get mad cow disease by eating red meat that contains these prions, and presumably cows could get mad cow disease from eating infected humans, although that is not currently a feeding practice in the cattle industry.
What's really shocking about all of this is that the incubation time for showing symptoms from mad cow disease can literally be decades. So an entire population could be infected with mad cow disease and show few symptoms from it. One researcher has estimated that there will be 3800 more cases of the human form of mad cow disease discovered in the UK by the year 2080. That's a long time, and it doesn't sound like a lot of cases compared to the entire population, but this estimate could certainly be altered based on additional outbreaks of mad cow disease from the food supply.
Even though this news is about the population in the UK, I believe that much of this applies to the United States as well. In the U.S., the USDA has worked hard to cover up any news about mad cow disease, and even to mislead the American public into thinking that mad cow doesn't exist in the United States and that the U.S. beef supply is perfectly safe.
There are many ways in which the agency accomplishes this, but one of the most notable ways is by falsifying test results and banning independent beef companies from conducting their own testing. In this way the USDA can require that all testing be done by its own testing facility, and it therefore has the opportunity to manipulate the testing results in order to make sure all tests for mad cow disease come back negative. As a result, potentially millions of Americans could be consuming red meat right now that is tainted with these mad cow disease prions. They could be eating these foods, absorbing the prions, and harboring this disease for decades without showing any symptoms whatsoever.
In other words, it could be decades before we learn the truth about mad cow disease in the United States and before anyone begins to hold the USDA responsible for the rather nefarious actions it is pursuing today. As you may know, mad cow disease cannot be destroyed by cooking, either. You can cook a piece of red meat all you want, and the disease-causing prions are still viable. So cooking doesn't solve the problem -- the only way to avoid mad cow disease in the United States is to avoid eating red meat altogether. And for most Americans, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.