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Mad Cow disease claims 4th victim in US

Brain tissue with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Brain tissue with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

The CDC reports that an autopsy of a an unnamed patient’s brain in Texas has confirmed that the person died fromCreutzfeldt-Jakob Disease a rare, rapidly progressing and always-fatal degenerative brain disease related to of Mad Cow disease (aka bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE). Although no other information other than the fact that the deceased had “traveled extensively to Europe and the Middle East,” the CDC said it had assisted the Texas Department of State Health Services investigation of this case and “will continue to help confirm further details of the patient's history, including the potential source of infection.”

First described in the UK in 1996, it is believed that disease spreads to humans through consumption of beef from sick cows or who eat meat that has come in contact with infected tissue or that has been processed in contaminated machinery. In the meantime, BSE is passed between cows who are fed recycled carcasses for their meat and protein value..To date, “more than 220 variant human CJD patients have been reported, with a majority of them in the United Kingdom (177 cases) and France (27 cases). This case is the fourth to be reported in the United States.

A previous patient was diagnosed last September after undergoing neurosurgery at Catholic medical Center in Manchester, NH. That death prompted authorities to issue warnings to 13 other patients (including 5 at Cape Cod Hospital in MA) may have been exposed to the disease via the same surgical equipment used during that surgery.