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Could you get mad cow disease from a fish?

"University of Louisville neurologist Robert P. Friedland, M.D., questions the safety of eating farmed fish in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, adding a new worry to concerns about the nation's food supply.

Friedland and his co-authors suggest farmed fish could transmit Creutzfeldt Jakob disease--commonly known as mad cow disease--if they are fed byproducts rendered from cows. The scientists urge government regulators to ban feeding cow meat or bone meal to fish until the safety of this common practice can be confirmed.

"We have not proven that it's possible for fish to transmit the disease to humans. Still, we believe that out of reasonable caution for public health, the practice of feeding rendered cows to fish should be prohibited," Friedland said. "Fish do very well in the seas without eating cows," he added.

The risk of transmission of BSE to humans who eat farmed fish would appear to be low because of perceived barriers between species. But, according to the authors, it is possible for a disease to be spread by eating a carrier that is not infected itself. It's also possible that eating diseased cow parts could cause fish to experience a pathological change that allows the infection to be passed between the two species."

There seems to be a lot of "possibilities" in this story, but stranger things have happened.
 
 

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