Skip to main content
ad info

 
CNN.com
  health > diet & fitness AIDS Aging Alternative Medicine Cancer Children Diet & Fitness Men Women
  Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
HEALTH
TOP STORIES

New treatments hold out hope for breast cancer patients

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

Thousands dead in India; quake toll rapidly rising

Israelis, Palestinians make final push before Israeli election

Davos protesters confront police

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

TECHNOLOGY

ENTERTAINMENT

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*

 
CNN Websites
Networks image


Mad cow disease unlikely in U.S., experts say

graphic

(CNN) -- Agricultural and health experts believe mad cow disease is not a threat in the United States.

"We have checked close to 12,000 brains of the highest risk cattle in the U.S. and found no evidence at all" of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, said Dr. Linda Detwiler, a senior staff veterinarian for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Detwiler trains other veterinarians how to test cow brains for BSE, which has been linked to the development of the devastating Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. BSE has infected cattle in 13 European countries and killed about 90 people in the United Kingdom. Scattered infections also have been reported in Germany and France.

 IN-DEPTH
The spread of CJD Mad cow disease: Counting the cost
  •  The cross-species killer
  •  What's off the menu?
  •  EU beef consumption
  •  BSE cases in Europe
  •  Geographical BSE risk
  •  One family's nightmare
  •  Timeline: Crisis unfolds
  •  Recent news
  •  Audio/video archive
  •  Message board
  •  Related sites
 

The brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease usually involves psychiatric symptoms and behavioral changes, progressing to movement deficits, memory disturbances and other severe cognitive impairments. It is incurable, progressive and fatal. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 10 to 15 years following infection.

"We don't have mad cow disease," said Dr. Paul Brown, medical director of central nervous system studies at the National Institutes of Health. "We probably never will have mad cow disease, and therefore, it's a non-problem in the United States."

This is because the disease is believed to have come from contaminated bone-meal animal feed made from infected animal parts in England. BSE was first identified in that country in 1986.

But the United States banned importation of animal feed from the United Kingdom in 1989, and didn't import much even before that. In 1996, imports of animal feed from all European countries were banned.

In addition, imports of cattle or meat are prohibited, and the USDA monitors local herds carefully.

It is possible that U.S. tourists who become infected overseas could bring the disease back home, but even that, experts say, is unlikely to cause an epidemic.

"There's lot of bad news about this," said the NIH's Brown. But the good news is it's very difficult to transmit from one person to another."

CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Switzerland acts to curb BSE
December 20, 2000
Germany discovers third BSE case
December 20, 2000
French BSE cases 'underestimated'
December 13, 2000
Germany weighs up British lamb ban
December 10, 2000

RELATED SITES:
BSE Inquiry Home Page
BSE Home Page
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.