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Mad Cow Disease

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Medical Report: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is the scientific name for "Mad Cow Disease". This is a fatal disease that affects the brain and central nervous system of cows. The human form of mad cow disease is known as Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease (CJD). Even though the idea of becoming sick and dying from eating a sausage or a hamburger is pretty scary thought it should be noted that Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease is very rare and difficult to contract. It's so rare that as of November 2006 there were only 200 individuals worldwide diagnosed with mad cow disease, including 164 people in the United Kingdom, 21 in France, 4 in the Republic of Ireland, the 3 in the US, 2 in the Netherlands, and 1 each in Canada, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. ...read more.


By then, however, infected cattle had already entered the human food supply. (Wisniewski, 2005) In both humans and cows the symptoms can take from a few months to 30 or 40 years to submerge but the results are always fatal. (NINDS, 2009) At the longest death will occur within a year of the occurring symptoms. Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease is most likely transmitted through eating meat products infected with BSE from cows. (Sheen, 2005) The disease is not bacteria, fungi, or a virus, but a type of protein called prions. First a prion will enter a brain cell, and change normal proteins into prions as well. A cell cannot break down prions so the prions continue to reproduce and build as plaque. The cell then dies and the prions release to infect more cells. (Sheen, 2005) This process continues until the organism eventually dies.Prions are also near indestructible. ...read more.


Making matters worse Stephen started to have hallucinations. One day he was watching Baywatch and he felt as though he was drowning. Medication to stop hallucinations was prescribed and it still had no effect on Stephen. By January 1995 Stephen was unable to walk or speak clearly. He began to jerk and tremble and could not feed himself. Stephen's parents were told that his problem was a neurological problem and that death was inevitable. Indeed, Stephen lost more and more muscle control. In May, 1995, eighteen months after exhibiting symptoms, Stephen passed away. (Sheen, 2005) Doctors now know that Stephen's death and others was caused by simply eating one bad piece of meat. No cure is known on how to stop mad cow disease. More research needs to be done on how it can be stopped, but due to the fact that it's such a rare disease it's very difficult to research. This report is not to dismay people from eating beef but just to educate those about the disease and it' s effects on the world. ...read more.

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