Bearing in mind that (1) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (variant CJD) has been suggested to have an incubation period of anything up to decades, and (2) that during the 1990s I ate a LOT of cruddy Birdseye burgers, should I be concerned that I may be struck down with the brain wasting disease?

I’m no epidemiologist. And in fact, I’m not even sure if epidemiology is the relevant scientific field for this question. To take it a step further, I’d say there is absolutely no way in which I am qualified to answer this question, or any other about human health. (Or any other subject, really, it’s only because the internet is essentially an ante-image of a lawless post apocalyptic wasteland that I’m allowed to get away with answering questions at all).

With that in mind, I’d say you’re fairly safe.

It’s probably just as ridiculous to play down any kind of media covered health scare as it is to actually believe the papers, but that’s what I do.

Of course. There is a chance, and that chance could play out in one of two ways. Firstly, you could be incredibly unlucky, and be the one martyr to decades old farm malpractice. It’s incredibly unlikely, but it’s possible. Secondly, and more likely (but only because of economies of scale and you being a specific individual), is that actually, a fuck load of people are just about to all go a little mad cow.

And that more likely option, would probably be evinced by lots of people actually getting ill. If it has an incubation period of decades, then it sounds fairly variable? So surely in the last 20 years some people would have gone bad by now.

Anyway, I can’t continue to write this piece in such a frosty tone. I was about to launch into a rant about the ridiculousness about health scares and the media. And then have an argument about whether that was a good idea or not, bearing in mind the potential for denialism to cause suffering is potentially catastrophic. I’m thinking about AIDS and HIV here. I don’t want to be part of a movement that rejects known information about diseases off hand, because, you know, that would make me a killer.

And not only do I not have time to make that argument in any more detail than that, but I also just looked at the wikipedia article for CJD and am now shitting bricks.

We’re all probably going to die. (Actually, we’re all definitely going to die, it’s just a question of when and how. What I really mean, is we’re all probably carriers of CJD and it’s only a matter of time before we rapidly dement and die.)

What’s my evidence for this?

Simple.

Apparently you can’t give blood in America, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Poland or the Czech Republic if you were in the UK for more than a few months between 1980 and 1996.

I mean. That’s not all the countries. But it includes some pretty unparanoid nations, right? I realise it’s probably a precaution rather than an indication of real danger. But, well, it freaks me out some.

I spent 12 years in the UK between 1980 and 1996 (mostly in the latter section).

I’m keeping an eye on my brain for a while.

Illustration by Helen

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About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Helen, Questions by Philippa. Bookmark the permalink.

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