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Essay On Mad Cow Disease

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Mad Cow Disease, also known as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), is a slowly progressive, fatal neurological disorder in cattle that results from infection by a prion. Research indicates that the first probable infection of BSE in cows occurred during the 1970's. BSE possibly originated as a result of feeding cattle meat-and-bone meal that contained BSE-infected products from a spontaneously occurring case of BSE. Evidence suggests that the outbreak spread throughout the United Kingdom cattle industry by feeding prion-infected, bovine meat-and-bone meal to the young calves (Mad Cow Disease Facts). There was strong laboratory evidence between the BSE outbreak in cattle and a human prion disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) that was first reported in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1996. The disease is caused by eating beef products contaminated with central nervous system tissue from cattle infected with Mad Cow Disease. It can affect all age groups and is very hard to diagnose until it has nearly run its course. VCJD is fatal, usually within 13 months of the onset of symptoms (The Basics of Mad Cow Disease). The impact Mad Cow Disease and vCJD had in the United Kingdom caused fear worldwide and resulted in major changes to be implemented in the cattle industry.
Background of the Mad Cow Disease Outbreak
Prions cause no detectable immune or inflammatory response in the host. This is because they occur naturally in animal and human bodies. Therefore they are not recognized as foreign and don't stimulate the immune system. The accumulation of abnormal prions in the brain causes neuronal cells to die and a type of protein called amyloid to accumulate in plaques or flat areas and causes degeneration of brain tissue...

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...a BSE case in a dairy cow born in Alberta in 2004 (Mad Cow Disease Outbreaks Timeline). Since 1989, when the first BSE case was reported outside UK, a total of 1,088,556 cases have been reported from a number of different countries (Questions & Answers: BSE).
The widespread infection of cattle in the United Kingdom with Mad Cow disease caused panic worldwide and resulted in major changes to the cattle industry. Mad Cow disease caused millions of cattle to be slaughtered to prevent the disease from becoming a worldwide epidemic. Laws were implemented to regulate what is fed to the cattle and what parts of cattle can be used in animal and human food to help prevent the spread of the disease among cattle and from cattle to humans. The whole world has to be vigilant in monitoring and controlling Mad Cow disease outbreaks in order to prevent another worldwide epidemic.
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