Mad Cow Disease
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Mad Cow Disease is an disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord in adult cows. Scientist believe that it comes from BSE (type of disease that infects sheep and goats) They think BSE started infected cows through feed that contained animal protein from the sheep and goats. The name "Mad Cow Disease" comes from the weird behavior and symptoms seen in the cows that have the disease.
The disease first started in England in 1986. Cattle who catch this disease will have aggression, lack of coordination, trouble standing or walking, and weird posture. Scientists believe that humans can get this disease by eating parts of the nervous system from the cattle that was infected. This disease basically over takes your nervous system.
Frequency of Mad Cow Disease
Obviously in the United States cases of Mad Cow Disease are extremely rare but not as rare in other countries like England. In the United States we have had two cases of infected cows one in 2003, 2006, and 2012. In the UK this disease has killed 166 people by October 2009. Roughly 460,000 cows have been infected by this disease. The rate of Mad Cow Disease has decreased dramatically since 1989.
This disease changes the shape of normal proteins into an abnormal shape. When a person eats any nervous system from an infected cow the abnormal proteins take over the normal proteins in our bodies causing damage to our nervous system.
This disease takes months to years to completely kill of your nervous system. You obviously can't live without your nervous system so in the long run or short run your body will shut down.
A more common audience for this disease is people who live in mostly England.