CATHERINE EBELKE: Now, someone mentioned Mad Cow Disease. Does that
go to people, as far as you guys know?
JODI: A variant of it does.
CE: Right. The Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant can go to people. We're unsure
exactly how it happens. It hardly happens at all. It's something like
one in a few billion or so servings of meat can potentially transmit
it. It's never happened in the United States. It's happened a little
bit more in Portugal than it has in other parts of Europe. But that's
what everyone's scared about.
Plus, of course, the economic effects. If you think about how devastated
Great Britain is right now, and Belgium, France... other parts of Europe,
from mad cow and foot-and-mouth disease. They're really suffering, and
not just economically. It's a huge, huge problem.
SANDY: Plus the scary thing about Mad Cow Disease is the agent of disease
is a protein...
JODI: The prion.
SANDY: ...And we don't know how to deal with that, as far as finding
a vaccine or treating the disease and putting it to a halt. Do we?
SANDY: And, well, I believe there's still some people that're holdin'
out on that. And that's really scary. How do you kill a protein?
CE: And that's a really good point. And how do you isolate it, and...
how do you even figure out the exact mode of transmission?
When you read about it, if you guys go to any of these websites, you'll
see it described as 'an as yet unidentified agent' that involves a protein.
And it's like, "Oh, that's scary. That's real Stephen King kind
of stuff." What on earth are we dealing with?