Health and Medicine

Diseases, Disorders, and Other Health Problems

What is “mad cow disease” and how does it affect humans?

Mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a cattle disease of the central nervous system. First identified in Britain in 1986, BSE is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), a disease characterized by the damage caused to the brain tissue. The tissue is pierced with small holes like a sponge. The disease is incurable, untreatable, and fatal. Researchers believe BSE is linked to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans through the consumption of contaminated bovine products. CJD is a fatal illness marked by brain tissue deterioration and progressive degeneration of the central nervous system.


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