Mad Cow Disease Fast Facts

A cow is silhouetted on a pasture near the Trans-Canada Highway north of Calgary, Alberta on February 13,2015. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed February 13, 2015, that a case of mad cow disease has been found in Alberta, Canada .

(CNN)Here's a look at Mad Cow Disease, a fatal brain disease found in cattle.

Facts:
It has been linked to a fatal brain disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
The official name of mad cow disease is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). BSE lesions are characterized by sponge-like changes seen under an ordinary microscope.
Eating contaminated meat or other products from cattle (excluding dairy products) with BSE is thought to be the cause of vCJD.
    BSE is passed between cows through the practice of recycling bovine carcasses for meat and bone meal protein, which is fed back to other cattle.
    Both mad cow disease and vCJD are fatal.
    Symptoms of vCJD involve psychiatric symptoms and behavioral changes, movement deficits, memory disturbances and cognitive impairments.
    BSE Statistics (Cattle): (source: CDC)
    BSE cases in North America 1993-August 2018: 26 cases confirmed, 20 in Canada, and six in the United States. One of the infected cows that died in the United States was bor