April 25th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
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After Tuesday's announcement confirming a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), sometimes referred to as "mad cow disease," in a dairy cow in California, you may want a refresher course in mad cow basics.

It's important to keep in mind that U.S. health officials said the public risk posed by BSE is extremely low, and that residents don't need to take any specific precautions.

Here are the facts:

– BSE is a transmissible, degenerative and fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. The disease is of concern to public health officials because it can cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD, a fatal brain disorder in humans.

CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has met a victim of vCJD and she talks about that here.

– The infected tissue in animals with BSE is concentrated in the brain, spinal cord and some parts of the central nervous system. It can be spread to humans who eat these parts of the cow. The bacteria can also spread through meat that has come in contact with infected tissue or that has been processed in contaminated machinery.

Read - Mad cow disease: What you need to know

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Filed under: Health News • Mad Cow • Tainted Food


soundoff (5 Responses)
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    April 30, 2012 at 2:14 am | Reply
  2. TheyreLyingAgain

    Relax. There is no danger. OUR government NEVER lies to us about anything.

    April 27, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
  3. Good news indeed

    I pray all the cows in US have mad cow.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  4. Jen

    Bacteria? Really?

    April 25, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • What?

      Yeah – a 'faux pas' of the highest order there. They're fine as long as they can copy or cut-and-paste from existing text, but when they have to compose something on their own . . . can't even get in one sentence without a first-class mistake.

      April 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply

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