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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Mad Cow Disease Directory

Mad cow disease, also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a deadly nervous system disease that slowly destroys the brain and spinal cord of cattle. The human form of mad cow disease is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). You may get this rare disease if you eat nerve tissue from infected cattle. There is no evidence that you can get this disease from eating other parts of cattle, such as those used for ground beef and steaks. The cause of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and mad cow disease is unknown, although it may be due to protein changes in animal cells. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how mad cow disease develops, what the symptoms are, how it's treated, and much more.

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