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Halting Mad Cow Disease Hysteria

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Halting Mad Cow Disease Hysteria

If you had to choose between having Mad Cow Disease or becoming the top scientist in your field, which would you choose? The answer is obvious. Most realize that Mad Cow Disease, i.e. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a fatal disease that has been present among cattle populations in Europe over the past couple decades. In BSE, brain cells begin to die, forming sponge-like holes in the cow’s brain tissue. Evidence shows that consumption of infected cattle could correspond with the contraction of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a similar disease in humans. Although few people have been diagnosed with CJD worldwide, they remain fearful of showing symptoms of CJD; commonly resulting in death within a year. For this reason, many Americans panicked when becoming aware that the first case of BSE was discovered in the United States in December of 2003. Unfortunately, the media is quick to show infected cows, distempered and shaking in their stalls, without giving sufficient information of the disease’s origin or the preventative measures being taken to halt its spreading. Before consumers restrict beef intake from their diets they should consider their risks. In America, chances of developing BSE is far slimmer than becoming infected with other food-borne illnesses. Although many Americans were recently startled by a reported case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States, they are assured protection from infection by: consumption of selected meats, closely guarded packaging plants, and regulation in beef imports.

To fully understand the spreading of BSE, one must first know the diseases origin. The cause of the disease is not official, but three theories are considered. The fi...

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...eats contact. Finally, families who eat spinal or nervous tissue of cows can greatly reduce their risks of developing mad cow disease by not purchasing such items. The beef industry is willingly under surveillance, making all attempts to produce safe and healthy products. American residents should be assured that all necessary precautions have been taken to keep Mad Cow Disease out of the United States and consumer-friendly beef on market shelves. An excerpt from the FDA Consumer Magazine leaves the nation with this very “important message from both the Harvard and GAO studies. . . We must continue to work hard to make a good system even better. The FDA and the states will continue their aggressive inspection program and will continue to work closely with all components of the cattle and feed communities to help make a, thankfully, low public risk even lower.”
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