Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Predicted vCJD mortality in Great Britain

Modelling the latest data puts a ceiling on the likely number of vCJD cases.


There is continued speculation about the likely number of cases of variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) that will occur in Great Britain in the wake of the BSE epidemic in cattle and in light of a recent cluster of vCJD cases in Leicestershire, England. We show here that the current mortality data are consistent with between 63 and 136,000 cases among the population known to have a susceptible genotype (about 40% of the total population), with on average less than two cases of vCJD arising from the consumption of one infected bovine.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: The range of vCJD epidemic scenarios consistent with the time- and age-stratified vCJD mortality data to the end of 1999.


  1. Anderson, R. M. et al. Nature 382, 779–788 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Ferguson, N. M., Donnelly, C. A., Woolhouse, M. E. J. & Anderson, R. M. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 352, 803– 838 (1997).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Newby, M. J. & Thomas, P. J. Witness Statement no. 313B to the BSE Enquiry (25 January 2000).

  4. Opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee on the Human Exposure Risk (HER) via Food with respect to BSE, European Union Scientific Steering Committee (10 December 1999).

  5. Ghani, A. C., Ferguson, N. M., Donnelly, C. A., Hagenaars, T. J. & Anderson, R. M. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 265, 2443–2452 ( 1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Ghani, A. C. et al. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 267, 23– 29 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Ironside, J. W. et al. Lancet 355, 1693–1694 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Neil M. Ferguson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ghani, A., Ferguson, N., Donnelly, C. et al. Predicted vCJD mortality in Great Britain. Nature 406, 583–584 (2000).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing