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Risk Communication and Public Health$
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Peter Bennett, Kenneth Calman, Sarah Curtis, and Denis Fischbacher-Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562848.001.0001

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CJD: Risk Communication in a Healthcare Setting

CJD: Risk Communication in a Healthcare Setting

(p.163) Chapter 11 CJD: Risk Communication in a Healthcare Setting
Risk Communication and Public Health

David Pryer

Patricia Hewitt

Oxford University Press

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an incurable and ultimately fatal degenerative neurological disease. Sporadic (or ‘classical’) CJD appears across the globe, though fortunately it is very rare. In March 1996, researchers in the UK first reported a variant of the disease, vCJD. Unlike sporadic CJD, younger people were affected, and the research suggested that infection had resulted from exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy — BSE, or ‘mad cow disease’ — in cattle. This discovery followed repeated and fervent denials by government that BSE posed any conceivable risk to human health. Not surprisingly, vCJD has created a new theatre of interest in risk communication. This chapter presents a short historical summary to understand why this is so. It then considers the role of the CJD Incidents Panel in helping to manage the consequences of vCJD, and in communicating both to individuals and to wider audiences.

Keywords:   risk communication, public health, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, mad cow disease, CJD Incidents Panel

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