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Mad Cow Disease confirmed in death of Texas hospital patient

A patient who recently died in a Texas hospital has been confirmed by laboratory tests to have had a Mad Cow Disease according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) this week.

Youngster shows his cow at stock show. Mad cow disease first showed up in the United States in 2004.
Photo by Kevin Moloney/Getty Images

The confirmed diagnosis after autopsy is a fatal brain disorder called Variant CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).

“First described in 1996 in the United Kingdom, variant CJD is a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder in humans,” reports the CDC. “It is believed to be caused by consumption of products from cows with the disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow" disease).”

The Texas case is the fourth known reported case in the United States.

“Worldwide, more than 220 variant CJD patients have been reported, with a majority of them in the United Kingdom (177 cases) and France (27 cases),” according to CDC records. “In each of the three previous cases, infection likely occurred outside the United States, including the United Kingdom (2 cases) and Saudi Arabia (1 case). The history of this fourth patient, including extensive travel to Europe and the Middle East, supports the likelihood that infection occurred outside the United States.”

“CDC assisted the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)'s investigation of this case and will continue to help confirm further details of the patient's history, including the potential source of infection,” stated the CDC is an information released this week.

CJD is always fatal with death usually occurring within 14 months of the beginning of the illness.

The CDC has not released the name of the patient or the hospital.

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