The occurrence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, so called mad cow disease) that was first identified in England in 1986 was considered as being limited to only European countries, including England. However, the outbreak in Asia as well as North America since 2001 has amplified the fear that there isn't any nation in the world that is a safe area.
Mad Cow Disease is part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). All of these diseases are characterized by distinctive changes in the brain, abnormal behavior and death.
Prev Vet Med. 2013. BSE and variant CJD: emerging science, public pressure and the vagaries of policy-making. Classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was first recognized in 1987 in the United Kingdom and ultimately spread to cattle across Europe and to the Middle East, North America and Japan through the movement of infected animals and contaminated meat and bone meal. The human expression of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), likewise was first identified in the UK and now has been observed in many countries due to human exposure to BSE contaminated products or to vCJD contaminated human tissues through transplantation and injection.
FDA Proposes Barring
Certain Cattle Material From Medical Products As Mad Cow prevention
2007 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing to limit the materials used in some medical products in order to keep them free of the agent thought to cause mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. This is the latest in a series of mad cow safeguards that would bar material that has been found to harbor the highest concentrations of BSE agent in infected cattle. These materials would be prohibited from use as ingredients in medical products or elements of product manufacturing. The proposed rule would cover drugs (prescription, over-the-counter, and homeopathic), biologics (such as vaccines) and medical devices intended for use in humans as well as drugs intended for use in ruminant animals like cattle and sheep. Cattle can get mad cow disease, while sheep can get a similar disease known as scrapie.
The cattle materials prohibited in the proposed rule are those that pose the highest risk of containing infectious material and include:
The brain, skull, eyes and spinal cords from cattle 30 months and older;
the tonsils and a portion of the small intestines from all cattle regardless of their age or health;
any material from "downer" cattle -- those that cannot walk;
any material from cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption;
fetal calf serum if appropriate procedures have not been followed to prevent its contamination with materials prohibited by this proposed rule;
tallow that contains more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities if the tallow is derived from materials prohibited by this proposed rule and;
mechanically separated beef.
To ensure that companies comply with these prohibitions, FDA proposes to require that records be kept to demonstrate that any cattle material used as an ingredient in these medical products or as part of their manufacturing process meet the rule’s requirements.
Since 1996, strong evidence has accumulated for a causal relationship between ongoing outbreaks of mad cow disease in Europe and a disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) disease. Both disorders, which are thought to be caused by an unconventional transmissible agent, are invariably fatal brain diseases with incubation periods typically measured in years. Transmission of the BSE agent to humans, leading to vCJD, is believed to occur via ingestion of cattle products contaminated with the BSE agent; however the specific products associated with this transmission are unknown. About 200 cases of vCJD have been identified worldwide, including three cases in the U.S. However, there is no evidence that those three patients contracted the BSE agent in the U.S. FDA and USDA’s efforts to help protect the public from vCJD have included several other significant steps such as the FDA’s 1997 ruminant feed regulation, which forbids the use of certain mammalian-origin proteins in ruminant feed. Also, a 2005 interim final rule bans the use of certain high-risk cattle material in food, dietary supplements and cosmetics.
2006 - A case has been confirmed in Alabama. However, cases of mad cow disease have been halved each year worldwide over the past three years, showing that farmers are beating the deadly disease, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation has said.
In humans, eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease has been linked to more than 150 deaths worldwide from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare and fatal nerve disease. A majority of the deaths were in Britain, where there was an outbreak of mad cow disease that started in the mid-1980s. There was one case confirmed in the U.S., although the federal Centers for Disease Control believes the person got the disease while in the United Kingdom. No one is known to have contracted the disease inside the United States. U.S. government investigators have found two cases of mad cow disease. The first was in December 2003 in a Canadian-born cow in Washington state. The second was last June in a cow that was born and raised in Texas. In response to the first case, the Agriculture Department increased its level of testing for the disease. Tests are done on dead animals; there is no test for the disease in a live cow. The department primarily tests animals that can't walk, have signs of nervous system disorder, are emaciated or injured or that have died. These animals are considered to be at greatest risk of having the disease.
Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease is a prion protein disease causing a transmissible, subacute, fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by a spongiform encephalopathy. Though rare, ever since Pruisner described the pathogenesis in 1982, this disease kept the clinicians as well as biologists spellbound, because of its distinct clinical picture and the novel mechanism of transmission. There was a further quantum leap in the interest in the disease with the establishment of its new clinical variant, the so called 'mad cow disease' in the late 1990s and had led to more stringent measures to ensure the quality of cattle-feeds and cattle-derived food products. The sporadic genetic variants, the commonest form of the disease, continue to challenge the genetic scientists. Advances in neuroimaging, cerebrospinal fluid marker proteins and genetic linkage studies now offer excellent diagnostic methods, while advances in therapeutic medicine which use products from cadaveric extracts such as growth hormone for treatment of hypopituitarism, dural grafts for neurosurgical procedures and cornea for transplantation etc. have thrown new challenges in controlling this serious disease.
Mad Cow disease symptom and how to tell you have it
Symptoms and signs are due to central nervous system impairment. Symptoms of mad cow disease in the animal include a change in attitude and behavior, uncoordinated movements, difficulty with standing and walking, weight loss despite having an appetite. Another symptom of mad cow disease is decreased milk production. Mad cow disease is ultimately fatal.
Mad Cow resistant cows?
Chinese scientists announced in 2006 that they have succeeded in cloning a cow with genes resistant to mad cow disease. The birth of the 55-kg (121-lb) calf in the eastern province of Shandong comes three years after a team led by now-disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk cloned cows with a protein structure resistant to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The research was led by professors Dong Yajuan and Bo Xuejin -- who succeeded in cloning China's first and second healthy cows in 2001 -- in collaboration with a Japanese university. State television reported that further tests would be required on the calf as it grows to verify the effectiveness of the transplanted genes.
In 2001 the EU slapped an embargo on fishmeal in cattle, sheep and goat feed since it feared the meal might get contaminated with meat and bone meal (MBM) - thought to spread mad cow disease, or BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). Then, nearly three years later, EU vets authorized a test to trace minute quantities of risk material and distinguish between fishmeal protein and other ruminant protein. The test is able to detect very small amounts of mammalian proteins in fishmeal. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has said for a long time it would consider lifting the ban if a reliable testing method to distinguish fishmeal from MBM could be found. In itself, fishmeal - used as a supplement in animal feeds - does not pose mad cow risk but was banned because there was no way of telling it apart from MBM. Within the EU, about 20 percent of fishmeal is used in the poultry and pig sectors. The ban will be lifted in 2007.
Q. I read somewhere that some memory herbs can help prevent mad cow disease.
A. I have not come across any studies that an herb can prevent mad cow disease.
Q. I am a graduate student doing research on Mad Cow
disease. My questions are, what threat does mad cow disease pose to humans; how
soon are mad cow disease experienced upon consumption; and what is the
difference between vCJD and CJC in the danger to humans?
A. I have not studied this topic in enough detail to have a solid understanding.
Although they can't 100% diagnose it
until post mortem, it appears I have a very slow case of vCJD (mad cow disease)
from eating meat in the UK since the 1980s. It is based upon misfolded prions
and supposedly has no cure nor therapies. Doctors including neurologists are not
up on the research at all. I learned about Ip6 thru Dr. S when all my problems
began nearly two years ago and I attribute my current survival to that. Would
you please ask him to review the following ideas and if nothing else suggest
whether he feels they are a good choice or a bad choice. Even though it's
supposed to be only a degenerative brain disease, Scripps has found it
destroying the heart muscle and it involves the entire body in a autoimmune type
way. Any suggestions would be welcome - especially what might reduce swelling (I
know steroids are supposed to be a bad choice) and calming to the nervous system
without making things worse. My current regimen includes IP6 (Inositol
hexaphosphate) + inositol. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine), Vitamin D3. Doxycycline -
Can't determine if helping or hurting . Taking pro-biotic for stomach. Huperzine
A (acetylcholinesterase enzyme inhibitor with promise for Alzheimers) too soon
to tell if helping.
The natural treatment of mad cow disease is not a topic I have studied in any detail.