Thursday, April 6, 2017

History of mad cow disease

A human version of mad cow disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is believed to be caused by eating beef products contaminated with central nervous system tissue, such as brain and spinal cord, from cattle infected with mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

The first recorded case of a cow with unusual symptoms was reported in 1984, three days before Christmas in Sussex County, an hour’s drive south of London. A veterinarian was called to examine a cow that ‘had become hypersensitive to noise, apprehensive, unpredictable and aggressive and was having difficulty walking’.
The veterinarian then sent the head from one of the carcasses to the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Weighbridge Surrey for examination. Some sections of the cow’s brain had a strange sponge-like appearance under the microscope. By 2001, cattle in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, Belgium and Denmark as well as England were drying of mad cow disease.

As the mad cow epidemic reached its peak in 1992, millions of cattle were destroyed but by then contaminated meat products had probably entered the food chain.

On December 23, 2003, US authorities announced that the first case of mad cow disease in the United States had been found in a Holstein dairy cow in nearby Mabton, Washington.
History of mad cow disease

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