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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

Also know as "Mad Cow Disease"

What is BSE?  

  • Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also termed "Mad Cow Disease", is one of a number of slowly progressive, degenerative neurologic diseases in animals and man classified as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE).
  • This cattle disease was first discovered in the United Kingdom in 1986. Other TSE diseases of animals, e.g. Scrapie in sheep or Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, have been known for many years.
  • Creutzfeld Jacob Disease (CJD) and Kuru are examples of TSE diseases of humans.Epidemiologic data would suggest that BSE may be responsible for a variant form of CJD (vCJD) in people.
  • To date, 132 people have been diagnosed with vCJD; all of these persons were from European countries during the initial BSE outbreak. All TSE diseases have no known effective treatment and result in death.