HomeStay InformedDiseasesMad Cow Disease
Ready Marine Corps

 

Ready Marine Corps

Emergency Preparedness Program

Supporting The Nation's Premier Force in Readiness
Mad Cow Disease

BSE
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly referred to as “mad cow disease,” is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. BSE affects only cattle.

vCJD
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a degenerative neurological disorder (brain disease) thought to be the human manifestation of BSE. vCJD is ultimately fatal. It is very rare, affecting only one in one million.

Photo by: Stephen Kirkpatrick, courtesy of USDA      

Transmission and Symptoms
  • vCJD is thought (but not proven) to be transmitted through the con­sumption of infected animal tissue, specifically beef.
  • vCJD is a neurodegenerative disease, usually presenting itself similarly to dementia.
  • Other symptoms:
    • Prominent psychiatric/behavioral symptoms
    • Delayed neurologic signs
    • Painful sensations such as burn­ing or pins and needles from neurological malfunctions
Prevention
  • Caution should be exercised by those in Europe and other areas with indigenous cases of BSE.
  • You may consider avoiding beef or beef products that are not solid tissue (sausage, ground beef, and brains).
  • Be aware of beef recalls when they occur.
  • Remember that the possibility for infected beef is very small.
Treatment
  • Currently, there is no treatment for vCJD.
  • It is an ultimately fatal disease, with average illness duration of 14 months.


Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.


Where to Find Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
    BSE
http://www.cdc.gov/prions/bse/index.html
    vCJD
http://www.cdc.gov/prions/vcjd/index.html

Information for International Travelers— 
www.cdc.gov/nciDoD/dvrd/vcjd/risk_travelers.htm

U.S. Department of Agriculture
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/
animal_diseases/bse/index.shtml

Downloadable PDF