Warning as abandoned UK factory contains dangerous Mad Cow Disease that could threaten humans
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An abandoned factory in Kent 'undoubtedly' contains Mad Cow Disease which could threaten humans if released.
Thruxted Mill was one of five places in the UK where cattle infected with Mad Cow Disease were taken to be destroyed, and scientists have warned that the now-abandoned facility still poses dangers today.
The mill has been abandoned for over 15 years and developers have wanted to transform the site into housing for some time, only to be told that people must never be encouraged to go there.
Professor Alan Colchester of the University of Kent said that the mill and the woodlands surrounding it could be contaminated with molecules which cause Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow Disease.
He warned that the molecules are incredibly difficult to destroy and can incubate for several years, which would pose a risk to human life if people mistakenly spread the disease from the abandoned complex.
There is evidence suggesting that if a human eats meat from an animal with Mad Cow Disease it can lead to something called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), which is a rare brain disorder that has always been fatal to anyone diagnosed with it.
However, people have said that they have already been to the abandoned factory as on an urban explorer's website a user claimed to have been to Thruxted Mill last May.
They said they found animal bones in the derelict site and that the whole place stank of a 'mix of blood, rust, decay, oil, pigeon s**t and death'.
The user, who visits the online forum '28DaysLater.co.uk' under the name RXQueen, said the dangerous location was 'wide open'.
Professor Colchester said: "The site is a biohazard. It's always been known that the infected agents for Mad Cow Disease are incredibly resistant to normal decay and destruction and there will undoubtedly be some long-term contamination in the soil.
"The point is that there are various ways you could come into contact with it. The worst-case scenario is that you could transmit the illness to animals or humans from environmental materials that have themselves been infected in the past.
"And with CJD, we’re talking about a seriously long incubation period - from a few months to several years. Infected remains were left lying around and contaminated material is probably still lying in large quantities in the soil."
He recommended that there should be no attempt to bring people to the surrounding area, and that if such a thing happened in an urban environment where people already lived they 'should tarmac it over completely'.
There are still isolated outbreaks of Mad Cow Disease, but fortunately these are usually detected before the disease enters the food supply.
BSE was first discovered in the UK in 1986 with around 4.4 million animals slaughtered in attempts to eradicate the disease and remove the contaminated animals from the food supply.
During the 90s and much of the 00s truckloads of cattle carcasses were brought to Thruxted Mill to be destroyed before the site closed down in 2008.