Mad cow disease: What you need to know
April 25th, 2012
10:02 AM ET

Mad cow disease: What you need to know

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.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the chance of humans actually contracting mad cow disease is extremely slim - less than one in 10 billion. In the years after variant CJD was first reported in 1996, 195 patients across 11 countries - including at least two cases reported in the United States - have been diagnosed, according to the CDC.

For those who may still be concerned about eating beef, the consumer advocacy group Consumeraffairs.com has come up with some precautions:

- Avoid brains, neck bones and beef cheeks
- Avoid bone marrow and cuts of beef that are sold on the bone
- Choose boneless cuts of meat, and for ground beef, choose only meat that is ground on-site in the store

The group also says that unlike most other meat-borne illnesses such as E. coli bacteria, cooking does not kill mad cow disease.

Can mad cow disease be a danger to pets? Short answer: it depends on the pet.

The Food and Drug Administration says that with the exception of cats, no pets are known to be able to contract mad cow disease.

Cats are susceptible to a feline version of BSE. The FDA has reported that cats in the United Kingdom have contracted the disease, probably through cat food and meat scraps.

soundoff (915 Responses)
  1. Kamilah Sticher

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs


    May 11, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Content Marketing Market

    That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 11, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Video Marketing Companies


    May 11, 2021 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Video Marketing Studio


    May 11, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv roof repair near me


    May 11, 2021 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. monrovia collision center


    May 11, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv parts and service near my location


    May 12, 2021 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. window repair orange county


    May 12, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Steps Riverside

    Spot on with this write-up, I really think this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!


    May 12, 2021 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. motorhome restoration interior

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the best sites on the internet. I am going to recommend this website!


    May 12, 2021 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service Near Me

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    May 12, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. paint shops near my location

    I'm extremely pleased to discover this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and i also have you book-marked to see new information in your web site.


    May 12, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Julio Danco

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 12, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. travel trailer slide out repair


    May 12, 2021 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 12, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rv shower upgrade

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!


    May 12, 2021 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. remodel motorhome interior

    I truly love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own blog and would love to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Cheers!


    May 12, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service Centers Near Me

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!


    May 12, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. yorba linda dump


    May 12, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Furniture California

    This page definitely has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 13, 2021 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Mercedes Sprinter Body Repair

    Great post. I'm going through many of these issues as well..


    May 13, 2021 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mercedes Sprinter Service Center


    May 13, 2021 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. trailer repair orange county

    Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 13, 2021 at 04:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. horse trailer paint jobs


    May 13, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. california horse trailers

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    May 13, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Shades Los Angeles

    Saved as a favorite, I love your web site!


    May 13, 2021 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. horse trailer air conditioner

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 13, 2021 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. checkpoint in lake elsinore ca


    May 13, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. truck repair around me


    May 14, 2021 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. collision experts lemon grove

    Very good info. Lucky me I found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


    May 14, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Upholstery Orange County

    There is certainly a great deal to find out about this issue. I like all of the points you made.


    May 14, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv mechanics near me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this info.


    May 14, 2021 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service


    May 14, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. indoor rv storage orange county

    I was excited to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you saved to fav to look at new information in your blog.


    May 14, 2021 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. things to do in azusa ca


    May 14, 2021 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. solar repair near me

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 14, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Vision Center


    May 14, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo


    May 14, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. accutane

    isotretinoine https://accutaneisotretinoine.com/# buy isotretinoine

    May 14, 2021 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. 1980 Maserati Quattroporte


    May 14, 2021 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. realtor agent near me


    May 14, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. property for sale rathdrum idaho

    After looking into a number of the blog posts on your web site, I honestly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website too and tell me how you feel.


    May 15, 2021 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. anything rv service center


    May 15, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. realtor sandpoint

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to write more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not talk about these topics. To the next! Best wishes!!


    May 15, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Optometric Near Me

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thank you!


    May 15, 2021 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Arizonas Vision


    May 15, 2021 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. couches orange county

    This excellent website definitely has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 15, 2021 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Digital Marketing Specialists


    May 15, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. oranges for sale near me

    This is the perfect blog for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for decades. Great stuff, just excellent!


    May 15, 2021 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. combigan

    buy combigan generic combigan

    May 15, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Leave a Reply to w


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.