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Mad Cow Disease Symptoms

Monday, 07 April 2014 12:07 AM

Mad cow disease is a neurological disorder affecting cattle that can be transmitted to humans. In humans, the mad cow disease is known as the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This scientific name for the disease acknowledges two of the doctors who first described its symptoms. In cattle, the disease is known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. It causes a sponge-like appearance of the brain as cells face destruction in the brain and spinal cord.
This disease progressively grows and affects the central nervous system of cattle, rapidly transmitting through herds. Consumption of beef products from infected cattle can cause this disease to alter its form and affect humans. This disease is more common in humans above the age of 65. In severe cases, it can be fatal with a life expectancy of about six months once symptoms appear.
Cause of the Mad Cow Disease
The mad cow disease is considered associated to modification or conformational change of a normal cell surface protein called prion protein. The reasons for this conformational change are still unknown. This disease is incurable and fatal in cattle. The infected cattle lose the ability to perform normal actions such as standing or walking, and hence, the disease derives its name of mad cow.
The disease severely affects the nervous system of cattle, including the brain and spinal cord. Disease-infected cattle can transmit the disease to other farm animals like goats and sheep. The disease symptoms become visible earlier in humans as compared to cattle.
Symptoms of Mad Cow Disease
In cattle, symptoms of mad cow disease appear slowly. What makes the disease risky is that these symptoms are infectious to other species including humans. A change in activity and attitude are usually the first symptoms of mad cow disease in cattle. As the disease progresses, infected cattle become increasingly uncoordinated and show an inability to perform simple movements, such as standing and walking. A noticeable decrease in weight is among the other symptoms. These symptoms of mad cow disease worsen until the cattle dies.
Symptoms in Humans
Humans infected by cattle suffering from mad cow disease show symptoms such as emotional disturbances, severe jerks, changes in personality, and madness. In humans, symptoms worsen until the victim goes into a coma or dies. Symptoms in humans include depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric symptoms. In humans, symptoms of mad cow disease can include the following:
  • Memory loss
  • Rapidly progressive dementia
  • Emotional instability
  • An unsteady gait
  • Hallucinations

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Mad cow disease is a neurological disorder that affects cattle. This infectious disease can affect other species and humans. Symptoms of this incurable and fatal disease are usually psychiatric.
Monday, 07 April 2014 12:07 AM
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