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What Is Behind The New Jersey CJD Cluster?


By James Donahue


Something bizarre occurred in and around the community of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in recent years, and at least one area woman wants to know what it was.


At least 13 people have died from the dreaded brain wasting Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease, and all can be in some way linked to a local racetrack between 1988 and 1992.


Author Janet Skarbek, whose personal friend was among the victims, collected information on all of the victims and presented her theory that all of them died from eating tainted meat at the Garden State Racetrack food service.


Five of the deaths occurred within a two-county area of northern New Jersey within a 15-month period, Skarbek noted.


Her story made headlines in May when she argued that she believes the victims all died of the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease.”


A report released by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, however, disputes Skarbek’s story.


The report from Dr. Jean Weese, an extension food scientist and associate professor of nutrition at Auburn University, said the problem is that none of the Cherry Hill cases are identified with the variant form of CJD, considered to be linked to mad cow disease.


The cause of the more common “sporadic form” of Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease, remains a mystery. And there lies the problem with solving the source of the 13 Cherry Hill deaths. If not from tainted meat, what other common ingredient existed in these people’s lives? That they all worked, or were in some way associated with the racetrack may be an important clue.


“At this point, all we know for sure is that Skarbek has amassed a set of facts that probably would frighten most people,” Weese said. She said other than this, any conclusive link between the CJD cases and the racetrack has eluded her.


Skarbek asks if perhaps the cluster of CJD cases isn’t yet another form of CJD that originated at the track, or on some farm in the United States that provides meat for the food service.


Skarbek’s theories have been all but pooh-poohed by the extension service and other forms of medical and government officialdom and for good reason.


All of these agencies are government financed, and the government feeds heavily on support from the American beef industry. And the cattlemen have done a very good job of covering up the fact that mad cow disease is present in American beef.


Skarbek may have brought some very important information to light for a few brief moments. Authorities then went to a lot of trouble to appear concerned, but then carefully sweep her data back under the carpet, where they want to keep it.


That Weese wrote a scathing article for the beef industry, debunking Skarbek’s theories, tells us something about where her allegiance lies.


 Meat eaters are living dangerously these days, and many don’t seem to know it, or care.


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