Two good peer-reviewed studies were done a few years ago following up on earlier work in which brain tissue samples were taken from people who had died of Alzheimer's disease, or rather people who their doctors thought had died of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers analyzed the brain samples to determine how many of those patients had actually had Alzheimer's, and how many had had 'Mad Cow' disease (in humans it is usually called CJD for Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease; and sometimes people refer to "CJD variants" when they want the numbers to look smaller). The two diseases have very similar symptoms and at the time could only be conclusively diagnosed at autopsy.
One study found that about 5% of the "Alzheimer's" patients actually had CJD. The other study found that closer to 15% of their patients actually had had CJD instead of Alzheimer's. Earlier work is suggestive of similar ranges. Until larger studies are done, a reasonable number for risk estimation purposes would therefore be 10% of people with Alzheimer's actually have CJD.
The NIH says "Scientists think that up to 4.5 million Americans suffer from AD" (ref)
If that NIH estimate is anywhere near accurate, then somewhere around 10% of those people, or up to 450,000 Americans, actually have CJD instead of Alzheimer's disease. A very tiny number of those CJD cases probably arise spontaneously, maybe a few dozen at the most. The rest would result from infections, most of them presumably from eating animal flesh containing the disease.
This means that CJD is an unrecognized epidemic of huge proportions (for comparison, in 1952, the most severe polio epidemic year on record, more than 57,800 people were paralyzed or died from polio). The medical establishment knows these numbers and isn't saying anything though, the FDA and the meat industry knows these numbers and isn't saying anything either, in fact the FDA and the meat industry both adamantly insist that there is no need to test ALL animals at slaughter time to protect the American public (it costs a few bucks you know, and that would hurt profits). The best they do is say that animals too sick to stand up for their slaughter shouldn't enter the food supply, but as we all know from recent events even that weakest of protections doesn't always function as it should. So it shouldn't really be too surprising to learn that so many people are likely infected with CJD. It's probably very contagious too; much of the deer population in the Midwest is infected (I don't know if they call it "Mad Deer" though) and scientists think it may be spread in deer through saliva. So humans may even catch it by kissing an infected person, nobody knows for sure yet however.
There is no cure for CJD and due to its nature it is unlikely a cure will be found for a very long time. The disease has a very long latent period, it may take ten or twenty or even thirty years before it begins manifesting any symptoms. But when it does you lose your mind, you lose your memories, you lose your identity, and you lose your dignity drooling on yourself in your wheelchair and crapping your pants. Not necessarily in that order.
I have always been a believer in karmic justice, that people get what they ultimately deserve.
Meat eaters, uncaring of the suffering and death they are responsible for, deserve whatever consequences derive from their psychopathic pleasure in eating meat.
But Omaha Steaks does not deserve to benefit from pimping the disease. They know the meat they sell is only very rarely properly inspected for it, and they know there is a chance they will be passing the disease on to others. They may want to quibble over probabilities but that is the bottom line, despite their desire to make the probabilities sound astronomically low. But we know from the scientific data that the disease is epidemic in the human and animal populations of North America, even though the official government position is denial. They will tell you that inspection works, that there haven't been any new cases detected in months if not years, and that the disease can only be passed through brain and CNS tissue. All those statements are dead wrong lies. And Omaha Steaks participates in the charade.