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Friday, September 03, 2004


YUUUCK! Posted by Hello


With many special interest groups hoping to benefit by generating public alarm over "mad cow" disease, real facts can be hard to find. Even the name "mad cow" has been used because of the emotional reaction it produces. The real name for the disease, after all, is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Despite the detection of a single case of the disease in the United States, BSE does not present a public health risk.
What is Mad Cow Disease?
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is the scientific term for a disease which affects the brains of cattle. Soon after BSE was first discovered in the United Kingdom, it became more commonly known as "mad cow disease," most likely because of the emotional response it generated with the public. Unlike most livestock diseases, BSE is not caused by a bacterial or viral infection, but rather is the result of infectious prions. These are unique proteins that may bond with a cow's brain cells, altering their composition and ultimately leading to the animal's death. Mad cow disease is believed to be transferred to cattle when they eat these infectious proteins, yet science has shown the disease can only affect those cows that are genetically susceptible.

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