Prion Diseases


In recent years, Canada along with many other countries has faced a growing number of crises related to the safety of agricultural products. These concerns have ranged from the use of growth hormones in food-producing animals, to the use of genetic modification and to concerns over the emergence of zoonotic diseases from animal populations (SARS, Avian Influenza, and BSE or mad cow disease). When BSE hit Canada on May 20, 2003 the costs to industry and consumers were massive.  A fundamental problem in addressing BSE as a health, economic and social risk issue to date has been the adoption of an incomplete approach to risk management among international trading partners. Following the BSE outbreak in England it was evident that the lack of inclusion of social impacts in the science advice to policy makers was an important flaw in the risk management system. This practice was repeated in Canada and other countries, as evidenced by risk assessments that primarily focused on the probabilistic risks of exposure and not on the consequences.

To mitigate or prevent a further health, economic or social costs, the McLaughlin Centre works actively with PrioNet Canada to develop an integrated risk management framework to better address the risk issues imposed by prion disease. As part of the PrioNet Network, the McLaughlin Centre, will (1) Develop a conceptual integrated risk management framework; (2) Extend models projecting risks of prion disease to include more current information, both population and laboratory based, to achieve more accurate estimates of risk; and (3) apply the Centre’s risk management framework to the analysis of BSE risks in Canada, using the new information developed in this project. 

For More information visit: PrioNet

See also In the News - Prions