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Possible Cow to Cow Transmission of Mad Cow Disease In Texas and Alabama - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy BSE

June 12th 2006

Possible Cow to Cow Transmission of Mad Cow Disease In Texas and Alabama - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy BSE

Health

New cases of Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE) have appeared in cows in Texas and Alabama.  These cases appear to be an atypical form of the disease.  Scientists believe it may be a new strain of the disease that can be passed from cow to cow. 

Scientists theorize that cows pick up BSE, a cellular prion protein (prions are smaller than viruses), from their feed.  In this case however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed the existence of a rare strain and researchers are still unsure how the disease was transferred. 

"It's most important right now, till the science tells us otherwise, that we treat this as BSE regardless," the Agriculture Department's chief veterinarian, John Clifford, said.  According to FoodConsumer.org, laboratory studies on mice showed that both the classic and atypical strains could be spread from one animal to another.

 

The Federal Government will not be changing their testing or other measures to safeguard animals and people from the disease.  The Texas case was identified last year and the Alabama case was identified this year. 

The cases have drawn international attention.  Just last month in London, a meeting of experts presented research on the U.S. cases and on similar ones in Europe.

 

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle.  It is called spongiform because the brain tissue of the infected animals resembles a sponge under the microscope.  BSE belongs to a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy’s (TSEs).  According to the Department of Agriculture, TSE animal diseases found in the United States include scrapie in sheep and goats, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in mink, feline spongiform encephalopathy in cats, and in humans: kuru, both classic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome, and fatal familial insomnia.

 
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Keywords and misspellings: mad-cow spongeform encephilitis encephalitis Bovine Spongiform Encphalopathy BSE


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:51 PM