Bovine spongiform encephalopathy bse or mad cow disease current and proposed safeguards introduction overview bovine spongiform encephalopathy bse or mad cow disease is a fatal degenerative neurological disease of cattle it is believed to be caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy bse commonly known as mad cow disease is a neurodegenerative disease of cattle symptoms include abnormal behavior trouble walking and weight loss later in the course the cow becomes unable to move the time between infection and onset of symptoms is generally four to five years time from onset of symptoms to death is generally weeks to months. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy bse or mad cow disease current and proposed safeguards summary through mid may 2007 the united states had confirmed three cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy bse or mad cow disease the first in december 2003 in a canadian born cow found in washington state the second in june 2005 in cow in texas and the third in march 2006 in a cow . This report presents an overview of bovine spongiform encephalopathy bse or mad cow disease in the united states shortly after the first case of bse was announced us department of agriculture usda and other officials announced measures to improve existing safeguards against the introduction and spread of bse this report discusses trade restrictions the live stock feed ban . Bse bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unusual transmissible agent called a prion the nature of the transmissible agent is not well understood currently the most accepted theory is that the agent is a modified form
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