Surely the time has come to end the monthly issue of CJD statistics. Last year's returns showed there were only five deaths from vCJD (7.5 per cent of total) compared with 62 deaths from non-vCJD. Peak mortality from vCJD was reached in 2000 when 28 deaths (34 per cent of total) occurred and it has fallen steadily since then.
This month there are no deaths in any category. It may be a testament to the government measures introduced to prevent BSE-infected beef entering the food chain, but it is clear that the UK is not going to experience the 'epidemic' forecast by some epidemiologists at the time. The CJD Surveillance Unit is ever watchful, but the time has come to reduce the frequency of these returns from monthly to yearly.
Peter Hendy-Ibbs, retired hospital consultant, postgraduate law student