In March 1996, the British health minister announced that a committee of scientists set up to advise the government on spongiform encephalopathy issues had linked an unusual outbreak of a human degenerative neurological disease to BSE. The health minister said that exposure to the disease through the consumption of contaminated beef products before the introduction of the specified bovine offal ban in 1989 was the most likely explanation for an apparently new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) which was discovered in 10 people under the age of 42, some in their teens.  This is supported by the fact that no British case of vCJD has been identified so far that was born after the introduction of the offal ban.  Since 1996, approximately 170 people – the majority in the U.K. – have been diagnosed with vCJD. Epidemiological evidence suggests the epidemic of this disease has passed its peak.11

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