USDA confirms BSE ‘mad cow’ disease in California
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chief Veterinary Officer, John Clifford, confirmed Tuesday that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as BSE or “mad cow” disease, has been found in a dairy cow in California.
Clifford’s statement, released at USDA, mentioned that samples taken from the animal were tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa and results confirmed the animal was “…positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.”
As rumors of the BSE case circulated on the trading floor, Cattle Network states that the cattle futures markets locked limit down shortly before trading ended Tuesday.
USDA regulations prohibit high-risk parts of the cow, such as brains and spinal cords, from entering the food chain, according to a report by CNN. Eating meat or other animal products from contaminated cattle that have BSE is currently what scientists believe to be the cause of the fatal brain disease in humans that is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. And vCJD killed 150 people in Britain, where there were outbreaks. The UK’s Daily Mail reported in February that thousands of patients there may have secretly been monitored for symptoms of the human form of mad cow disease, vCJD, because officials were concerned that there could be another wave of the deadly infections.
Information from the World Health Organization lists symptoms of the disease in humans as: Early stages, patients may experience psychiatric or sensory symptoms, which most commonly are depression, apathy or anxiety, and occasionally are unusual, persistent and painful sensory symptoms. Neurological signs include unsteadiness, difficulty walking and involuntary movements, and by the time of death, patients become completely immobile and mute.