What is Mad Cow disease?

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What is Mad Cow disease? Blog Image


Brazil has halted its beef exports to China after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the northern state of Para.

About Mad Cow disease:

  • It is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
  • It is a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease which affects the central nervous system of adult cattle.
  • Causes: It is caused by a protein called a prion, which is normally found on cell surfaces, called a prion, 
  • When this protein gets altered, it destroys the nervous system tissue- the brain and spinal cord.
  • Transmission: A cow gets BSE by eating feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE. 
  • Symptoms:
  • A common sign of BSE in cows is incoordination. A sick cow has trouble walking and getting up.
  • It usually takes four to six years from the time a cow is infected with the abnormal prion to when it first shows symptoms of BSE. 
  • There are no vaccines available for this disease. 


Q1) What is the nervous system?

The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and cells that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of the body.

Source:  Mad cow disease case halts Brazil's beef exports to China: What is it?