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About Mad Cow Disease

Context:

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

Relevance:

GS I: Facts for prelims

About Mad Cow disease:

  • Mad Cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a fatal and slowly progressive disease that affects the central nervous system of adult cattle.
  • It is caused by a protein called a prion, which is found on cell surfaces. When this protein gets altered, it destroys the nervous system tissue, including the brain and spinal cord.
  • The disease is transmitted when a cow eats feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE.
  • The common sign of BSE in cows is incoordination, where a sick cow has difficulty walking and getting up.
  • It takes four to six years from the time of infection for a cow to show symptoms of BSE, and there are currently no vaccines available to prevent or treat the disease.

-Source: Hindustan Times


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