Mad Cow Disease in California Creates Terror

Waves of terror have been created by a case of mad cow disease discovered in central California 1st time in six years, i.e. after 2006. It is a dairy cow and officials have assured public that it has not been slaughtered and so there are no chances of the disease entering into humans. However South Korean beef retailers have immediately stopped the sale of US beef after the news. The terror is not fully settled down with a thought that the US Government would have had a tough time tracking other cattle which may have been consuming the same feed, as the country lacks in an efficient animal identification program.

Mad Cow Disease

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) which is commonly called mad cow disease is an infectious, degenerative, slowly progressing fatal disease which affects the central nervous system of adult cattle.

Human Version of Mad Cow Disease

The human version of the disease is known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). It is believed that this disease is caused because of eating the contaminated beef products containing the brain and spinal cord of the cow affected by mad cow disease. Therefore in the US, it is compulsory to remove the brain and spinal cord of the suspicious cattle.

Classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or cCJD is another form of vCJD and is also called sporadic CJD. Its cause is still not known and it occurs in 1 to 2 per 1 million persons all over the world, including the US. It is not associated with consuming the nerve tissues of cattle affected by the disease. Even vegetarians die of this disease. It occurs generally after the age of 65 and is fatal within 6 months from the commencement of symptoms.

Symptoms of v CJD

vCJD can affect person of any age and is tough to diagnose till it has become quite established in the body. In the early stages, symptoms connected to nervous system are seen like loss of coordination and depression. Later dementia too develops. Brain abnormalities, however, are seen only in the later stages with the help of MRI. vCJD is life-threatening and can kill the individual normally within 13 months of commencement of symptoms.

Milk of Infected Cow Carries No Threat

Milk and milk products from the cow infected by mad cow disease are not supposed to pose any risk of transmission of the disease to humans. Experiments have proved that the milk of such animals does not cause infection.

Other Products Prepared from Infected Animal

Cosmetics and dietary products made from the infected animals may cause the risk of transmitting the disease and so it is better to avoid them.

Countries Reported Mad Cow Disease

In 1986, mad cow disease was first reported in the cattle in the UK. Further, in 1993, about 1,000 new cases were reported per week. Other countries where the disease has been confirmed are Ireland, Japan, Portugal, the UK, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Israel, Austria, Slovenia and the Netherlands.