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Mad Cow Disease

Mad Cow Disease

Mad cow disease is an illness that cow’s get from the food they ingest. It is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Mad cow’s disease will affect the cow’s nervous system and it in turn causes them to act very strangely. They won’t be able to do normal things such as walking, and doing other things that makes them look mentally ill, hence the reason it is often called mad cow disease.

Causes of Mad Cow Disease

Cows that get mad cow disease have developed an infection which then causes their brain to deteriorate and become spongy. The cause of the infection isn’t entirely sure but it might be from the foods they are fed. Some food might have remains of dead cows that had the infection, which is then fed to the live cows. Because of the mad cow disease problem in the United Kingdom, the United States prevented live cows and some of their cow products from entering the US.

Mad Cow Disease and People

The biggest issue with mad cow disease is that if someone eats meat from a cow that had the disease, it can be transmitted to the person eating it. They may then get the human form of mad cow disease, called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). This is a serious disease affecting the brain, though it is rare in the US. So far, about 1 million people in the US have gotten CJD. It is also not contagious, so others don’t need to worry about catching it from someone diagnosed with the disease. Cows also can’t infect other cows with mad cow disease.

Preventing Mad Cow Disease

In the United States, people are working hard to prevent the BSE contaminated beef from ending up in stores and raising the risk of CJD from eating it. There are currently strict rules and regulations regarding beef processors using spinal cords or brains of cows for different food products. There is also a testing system to identify cows with the disease. An advanced recall system is in place to force companies to notify their consumers of products on the shelves that might have BSE and remove all stock from the shelves. If you’re concerned about mad cow disease, be very careful about what meat you buy and where you buy it from. Pay close attention to the most recent beef product recalls and check the label on your products to find out if you have purchased products that might have been pulled from the shelves.
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