Diseases

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

The neurological disease known as mad cow disease, sometimes known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), affects animals and is always deadly. Atypical conduct, difficulty walking, and weight loss are symptoms. Later on in the illness, the cow’s ability to operate properly is lost. Regarding the interval between infection and appearance of symptoms, there is conflicting information. The WHO recommended a range of four to five years in 2002. Typically, it takes weeks or months from the start of symptoms to death. It is thought that transmission to humans causes a type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). 231 instances of vCJD had been recorded internationally as of 2018.

BSE Infection Cycle

An infection by a prion protein, a misfolded protein, is thought to be the cause of BSE. Meat-and-bone meal (MBM) that contained either the remains of cattle who spontaneously developed the illness or scrapie-infected sheep products is thought to have been the source of the infection in cattle. The habit of giving meat-and-bone meal to young calves of dairy cows contributed to the outbreak spreading more widely throughout the United Kingdom. Cases are suspected based on symptoms, and they are verified with a brain exam. Cases are categorised as either classic or atypical, with the latter being further broken down into H- and L kinds. It is a form of spongiform encephalopathy that is contagious (TSE).

Mad Cow Disease

In the UK, efforts to stop the disease include not allowing any animals older than 30 months to enter the human food chain or the supply of animal feed. Cattle over 30 months old must undergo testing in continental Europe if they are to be used for human consumption. Tissue of concern, also referred to as identified risk material, is prohibited from being added to pet food or animal feed in North America. The UK’s eradication programme resulted in the death of approximately four million cows.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

In 2017, four cases were reported worldwide, and the syndrome is now regarded as almost extinct. From 1986 to 2015, more than 184,000 cattle in the United Kingdom received a diagnosis, with the peak year for new cases being 1993.

In other parts of the world, there have been a few thousand more cases documented. Numerous million cattle with the disease are thought to have possibly reached the food chain during the pandemic.

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