Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Alabama Cow Has Mad Cow Disease

Cow Never Entered the Animal or Human Food Chains, U.S. Official Says

How Is vCJD Diagnosed?

All age groups can be affected by vCJD, which is very hard to diagnose until it has nearly run its course.

In its early stages, people have symptoms related to the nervous system, like depression and loss of coordination. Later in the illness, dementia develops. But only in advanced stages of the disease can brain abnormalities be detected by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging); vCJD is fatal, usually within 13 months of the onset of symptoms.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone would get vCJD from eating food purchased in the U.S. To prevent mad cow disease from entering the country, since 1989 the federal government has prohibited the importation of certain types of live animals from countries where mad cow disease is known to exist.

This ban includes meat products used in human, animal, and pet foods. In addition, prohibiting high-risk animals from entering the food supply and the removal of central nervous system tissue from the food supply helps assure that BSE is not a risk to consumers.

In addition, the FDA stops the importation of cosmetic and dietary supplement ingredients containing bovine materials from animals originating in the 33 countries where mad cow disease has been found or from animals at risk of being infected.

According to the CDC, a British citizen who briefly lived in Texas from 2001-2005 and later returned to the U.K. had vCJD. That person's symptoms started in early 2005 in Texas before being diagnosed and treated in the U.K.

1|2

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing