bovine spongiform encephalopathy

GC: n

S: WHO – (last access: 21 August 2014); CDC – (last access: 10 November 2018).

N: 1. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also called mad cow disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disease of cattle.
2. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is caused by an infectious agent that has a long incubation period, between two and five years. Signs of the disease include behavioral changes, such as agitation and nervousness, and a progressive loss of muscular coordination and locomotive function. In advanced stages the animal frequently loses weight, shows fine muscular contractions over its neck and body, walks in an abnormal and exaggerated manner, and may isolate itself from the herd. Death usually follows within a year of the onset of symptoms. No treatment or palliative measures are known.
3. First recognized in cattle in the United Kingdom in 1986, BSE became epidemic there, particularly in southern England. Cases also were reported in other parts of Europe and in Canada. The disease is similar to the neurodegenerative disease of sheep called scrapie.
4. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of diseases of humans and animals characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain with severe and fatal neurological signs and symptoms.
In animals, scrapie is a common disease in sheep and goats. Mink and North American mule deer and elk can contract TSEs. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is also a TSE, affecting a number of species (cattle, human, cats, some types of animals in 300 settings).
BSE is a transmissible, neuro-degenerative fatal brain disease of cattle. The disease has a long incubation period of 4-5 years and it is fatal for cattle within weeks to months of its onset. The nature of the BSE agent is still being debated.
5. mad cow disease (Colloquial language), mad cow (Colloquial language).
6. Cultural Interrelation: Mad Cow Disease: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Epidemics) (2001) by Tom Ridgway.

S: 1, 2 & 3. EncBrit – (last access: 21 August 2014). 4. WHO – (last access: 21 August 2014). 5. GDT – (last access: 3 April 2015); FCB. 6. (last access: 3 April 2015).


CR: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.