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News Release

CountryDateRelease Date


United Kingdom


June 30 2000

Immediate

House of Lords addresses Crohn's disease issue.

--Calls for Government action to assure safe milk.

On June 19, 2000, Great Britain's prestigious House of Lords convened in London to address the possibility that a bacterium, known as Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) -- which causes a fatal intestinal wasting disease in dairy and beef cattle -- may cause Crohn's disease, a chronic and debilitating intestinal disease in humans.

Having had first hand experience with the human and market devastation caused by "Mad Cow Disease," Great Britain's leaders have taken somber note of the fact that researchers have recently concluded that live MAP is present in the retail milk in Great Britain. Consequently, they have already moved to fund a study of retail milk to address the viability and levels of the bacterium in milk. Details of this evaluation are not yet published.

In light of rapidly mounting scientific evidence, Great Britain's leaders are further assessing the possibilities and ramifications if MAP is proven to be causing the dread human disease known as Crohn's disease. The recent discussion in the House of Lords centered on the available scientific evidence, particularly that completed by renowned physician and researcher, Professor John Hermon-Taylor, Chairman, Department of Surgery, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, England.

When asked for his opinion on the House of Lords discussion, Professor Hermon-Taylor stated:
     "The Lords debate was most helpful." Continuing, Professor Hermon-Taylor further stated that the debate, "encapsulated precisely the centre-ground uncertainty on the critical Public Health issue of the relationship between Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) and chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine in people. It highlighted important research contributions coming from the United States confirming the presence of MAP in people with Crohn's disease, as well as the fact that live MAP is present in retail pasteurised cow's milk in Britain. The current position of the UK Government on the desirability of making Crohn's disease notifiable (reportable) expressed by the Government minister Lord Burlison in his reply... 'We are not convinced that that [making Crohn's disease notifiable] would achieve anything which cannot be achieved as well or better by a voluntary approach to collecting information.' ...is clearly both irrational and untenable, and is a priority area in which we need to make progress."

In related U.S. news, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID), in December 1998 brought Professor Hermon-Taylor in to speak at its workshop, "Crohn's disease: Is there a Microbial Etiology?" In May 1999, the NIH/NIAID completed and published in May 1999 an historic and comprehensive new research agenda for Crohn's disease - a research agenda to address an infectious cause of Crohn's, with MAP as the primary target of research. Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently identified critical research in its working document, Potential Infectious Causes of Crohn's Disease., relative to suspicions about a connection between MAP and human Crohn's disease.

In related news on the international level, in early 2000, the European Commission/European Directorate General of Health and Consumer Protection (DG24) published a 76-page report requesting an "urgent research program" to deal with the connection between the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) and Crohn's disease, and to deal with the transmission of MAP to the human population through the food chain. Stating that "There are sufficient grounds for concern to warrant increased and urgent research activity to resolve the issue", the Commission goes on to recommend a wide range of research that should be conducted as a matter of urgency.

All in all, government leaders throughout the world appear to finally be concentrating and acting on this critical research -- research which has been slowly mounting over the past nearly twenty years, and which has gained new momentum recently due to newer, improved scientific techniques -- research which suggests that the devastating human condition known as Crohn's disease may be caused by a bacterium known as MAP, possibly contracted through the human ingestion of dairy/cattle products contaminated with MAP bacterium.

PARA is greatly encouraged by the actions of the U.S. Government, and Governments throughout the world, since this critical research may potentially lead to a cure for Crohn's disease -- finally ending the misery of suffering millions worldwide.

References:

"Crohn's disease" --Full text of the debate in the House of Lords.

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld/ldhome.htm --Home page of the House of Lords.


For further information contact

ContactKaren Meyer and Cheryl Miller
Co-Executive Directors, Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc.
E-mailKaren --or-- cmiller@crohns.org

Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc.

is a non-profit organization of Crohn's disease patients, their families and friends who are dedicated to the following goals:
  1. To raise awareness of the zoonotic (disease-causing) potential of the bacterium, MAP, in the national community of sufferers of Crohn's disease, in medical, veterinary and food science research communities, in governmental agencies and in the public in general
  2. To urge governmental agencies to directly address control and eventual eradication of MAP from the human environment, particularly from foods of animal origin
  3. To urge governmental and medical research agencies to make funding available for research which will determine the role played by MAP in causing Crohn's disease

Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association, Inc.
Box 16219
Temple Terrace, FL 33687-6219
Website http://www.crohns.org/


Source: http://www.crohns.org/media/pr300600.htm   Contact PARA: http://www.crohns.org/contact.htm
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