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Possible Mad Cow in Massachusetts

Posted Jul 21 2008 10:20am

A patient in a Cape Cod hospital may have thehuman form of mad cow disease. Local health officials are investigating. Steve LeBlanc of theAssociated Pressreports:

Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state's director of communicable disease control, confirmed Sunday to The Associated Press that tests are being done to see if the patient has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and whether it's the variant attributed to mad cow.

There have only been three cases of the human form of mad cow disease reported in the United States in the last several years, and officials say it's extremely unlikely the patient in Cape Cod Hospital has the disease.

Mad cow disease -- medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE -- causes spongy holes in the brain.

Eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease is linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal human malady.

Modern cattle-rearing practices are often blamed for mad cow disease outbreaks;feeding slaughtered cows to cows—viaWikipedia.

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