Mad Cow Disease Essay examples

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Mad Cow Disease Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better know as Mad cow disease is a relatively new disease. Most sources state that BSE first showed up in Great Britain in 1986 [Dealler p.5] but some say it popped up in 1985 [Greger p.1]. However the official notification was not until 21 June, 1988 [Dealler stats. p.1]. Spongiform encephalopathies are invariable fatal neurodegenerative diseases and there is no treatment nor is there a cure for this disease [Greger p.1]. The recent scare of BSE has arisen because of the contraction of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD: see Appendix B) in humans from eating beef products. Although there are many forms of Spongiform encephalopathies that affect a wide range of animals, BSE has…show more content…
     BSE, is a slowly progressing degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle. BSE is the same as most of the other spongiform encephalopathies, they evoke no immune response and consequently slowly accumulate for an incubation period up to 30 years. You cannot detect them, purify then, nor can you isolate them [Greger p.2]. One of the main issues that affect most farmers is how do they know if a cow has BSE. Cattle affected by BSE develop a progressive degeneration of the nervous system. Affected animals may display changes in temperament, such as nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture; incoordination and difficulty in rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body condition despite continued appetite [Kent p.10]. However it has been noted the signs in American cows is much different. They instead stagger to their death like downer cows do. "A downer cow" is referring to the industry term which describes cows who fall down and are too sick to get up [Greger p.4]. There is no treatment so all affected cattle die. The incubation period ranges from two to eight years [Hodgson p.2]. Following the onset of clinical signs, the animal's condition deteriorates until it dies or is destroyed. This usually takes from two weeks to six months. Most cases in Great Britain have occurred in dairy cows between three and five years of age [Dealler Bio p.7].
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