Mad Cow Disease: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:33 by admin
Mad Cow Disease is the layperson's name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. There is no evidence to date of Mad Cow Disease affecting American cattle.

Mad Cow Disease affects cattle. However, there is a condition similar to Mad Cow Disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) which is found in humans. There have been a small number of cases of vCJD reported, primarily in the United Kingdom, occurring in people who consumed beef contaminated with an infective agent. (As of February 2001, there have been a total of 92 cases of vCJD worldwide-including 88 in the U.K., three in France and one in Ireland.) There is strong scientific evidence (epidemiological and laboratory) that the agent that causes Mad Cow Disease in cattle is the agent that causes vCJD in people. There are no reported cases of vCJD in the United States. The disease, vCJD, which primarily affects younger persons, is very hard to diagnose until the it has nearly run its course. In its early stages, the disease may manifest itself through neurologic symptoms but it is not until the latter stages of the disease that brain abnormalities detectable by x-ray or MRI can be seen.

See your doctor if you are concerned about contracting vCJD. If you have contracted vCJD from Mad Cow disease infected cattle, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Meat Products: Overview
  2. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Overview
  3. Mad Cow Disease: FAQs
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