Mad Cow Disease: What is BSE

Mad Cow Disease: What is BSE

Brazil has suspended beef export to China. The suspension comes after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the northern state of Para. The mad cow disease is known medically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). 

About Mad Cow Disease

  • Known as mad cow disease in popular parlance,   BSE is an acronym for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. 
  • The disease infects cows and attacks their central nervous system. It's a fatal disease.
  • Mad cow disease is degenerative, transmissible, and slowly progressive.
  • It affects the central nervous system of adult cattle.
  • During the late 1980s mad cow disease assumed the epidemic proportions in the UK.

Symptoms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
The symptoms usually include aggression and a lack of co-ordination. According to US Food and Drug Administration, a common sign of BSE in cows is incoordination.

What causes mad cow disease?
Most scientists are unanimous that BSE is caused by an abnormal version of a protein called prion.

Key Takeaways

  • Brazil is the world's largest exporter of beef and China is its biggest customer.
  • China is the largest importer of beef in the world. 
  • Against the backdrop of the emergence of a case of mad cow disease
  • Brazil has temporarily suspended beef exports to China