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Mad Cow Disease - Essay Example

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[Ecohealth environmental change and our health glossary, n.d]. The most important fact about this disease is that those cows that are genetically susceptible by this disease only get infected by it. [What is mad cow disease, n .d]
This disease first originated in United Kingdom in 1985. A similar kind of disease was prevalent in sheep for over 200 years called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) or scrapie. Prior to the widespread of this epidemic, cattle were fed with meat and bone meal of butchered cows and sheep. Due to the gradual accumulation of prions on the cattle by constantly feeding them with such infected meat resulted in the origin of this epidemic. The infection of this disease was found in the blood although the pathogenic molecules were those of the brain and nervous system. [Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, n. d]. This disease started occuring all over the world due to the export of cattle and cattle feed from United Kingdom.
It is a silent disease whose symptoms are not prominent at the initial stages and appears only after 2 to 8 years of the infection. The gestation period for this disease is between 2 weeks to 6 months. The symptoms of this disease in the animal are change in the attitude and behavior, uncoordinated movements and weight loss. Such animals are unable to stand and walk properly. There is also a reduction in the production of milk by such animals. This disease ultimately results in the death of the animal. [Wisniewski, 2005]
Mad cow disease is caused by infectious prions. Prions are unique proteins that form bond with the brain cell of the cow altering its composition and ultimately their death. This disease is transmitted in the cattle by eating the infectious prions in the cattle feed. When the meat and bone meal of infected cattle are included in the feed then it results in the recycling of the diseased proteins. [Wisniewski, 2005].
This disease has its own implications on human beings and the society .United kingdom banned the consumption of certain organ meats and United states has banned the import of beef from countries were this disease is prevalent. The first human victim to get infected by a variant form of this disease called Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease was Stephen Churchil . It is estimated that about $50 billion will be spend for this disease and 300,000 people have the risk of loosing their jobs. [Murphy, n. d].
There are studies and researches being conducted to cure this disease. However, there are no treatments available to cure it. This disease effects the health of the animal rapidly and ultimately leads to its death. There are constant efforts taken by the health departments to formulate a vaccine that may prevent or delay the effect of prion diseases. [Wisniewski, 2005].
There are various preventive measures to reduce or eliminate this disease. It is caused due to the poor cattle feed. There should be measures taken to ensure that cattle are fed with grass and grains rather than organic feed containing infected prion. [Mercola and Dreoge, 2005].
This disease has its own implications on human beings . In human beings mad cow disease can cause diseases like Cruetzfeldt-Jakob (CJD), Kuru, Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker (GSS) and Fatal familial insomnia. CJD causes muscle ...Show more

Summary

Mad cow disease is a kind of disease caused among cattle that affects the brain. This disease originated during 1980's and proved fatal to both human beings and cattle. It is a silent disease and its symptoms appear at an advanced stage. There are various reasons and factors that lead to this disease and it can have drastic effects on an individual and the society…
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