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:
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.