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Medicine United States

Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In California 274

New submitter wave9x writes "The United States Department of Agriculture confirmed today that the nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sometimes referred to as 'mad cow disease' was found in a dairy cow in California. The animal has been euthanized and the carcass is being being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed."
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Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In California

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  • No wonder (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @09:37PM (#39790363)

    I'll just leave this [] here.

  • Don't eat T-Bones (Score:5, Informative)

    by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @09:47PM (#39790459) Journal
    Prions are primarily present in nerve tissue. The major concentration of nerve tissue is in cuts of meat like the T-Bone, which by their nature may still have traces of the spinal cord. Stick with cheaper, lesser cuts of meat (that aren't pink slime...) such as chuck, shank, and brisket, and you'll be fine.
  • Private BSE Testing (Score:5, Informative)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @09:51PM (#39790483)

    There was a suggestion to do private testing for BSE by individual ranchers the last time there was an 'outbreak'. The idea was to market their product as having been tested. But that was banned by the USDA [].

  • Re:American Culture (Score:4, Informative)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:20PM (#39790683)

    That and we're more likely to see the effects of trouble in the beef industry than we are to actually get Mad Cow. But, hey, it's fashionable to take pot-shots at America right now.

  • Re:American Culture (Score:5, Informative)

    by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:20PM (#39790687) Homepage Journal

    It's definitely telling... telling that you didn't see the disclaimer on the bottom of the Google News page:

    The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program.

  • Re:American Culture (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:59PM (#39790911)

    Indeed. Four cases of a disease in cows (in the US), with three humans infected is indeed extremely threatening. Never mind the UK had an actual epidemic, with over 180,000 cases in cows, and still only had 176 people infected (from Wikipedia). In my mind, that makes BSE less dangerous than... well, just about everything. Hell, there have only been 280 reported cases of infected humans from BSE, ever. Tell me again why people should be scared? Yes, health officials should be careful: damned careful. The average person? Don't worry about it.

    No one said nothing should be done. They did what needed to be done: euthanized the cow and dispose of the corpse properly.

  • by ShadowRangerRIT ( 1301549 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:59PM (#39790913)
    If you RTFA, it points out:
    1. This cow was never going to be sold for meat.
    2. This was a single point case of BSE; it wasn't the result of a transmission vector like contaminated feed, it just arose naturally (like prion diseases do in most mammals on rare occasions)

    Ever since we stopped feeding ground up cow parts to other cows, the rate of BSE has dropped to near zero; it's only when cow engage in cannibalism that the disease spreads to enough cattle to produce a measurable risk to any human.

  • Re:Fault: Obama (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:51PM (#39791167)

    If that were actually the real policy, then there would never be any outbreaks. The disease only transfers by eating brains and nerves. The cows can only catch it if the farmers are feeding their cows brains and nerves. From sick cows. Which is pretty disgusting considering they are herbivores.

    Um, you do realize that this is exactly what they do, right? The remains from slaughtered animals are processed and put back into animal feed.

  • Re:Dang (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:08AM (#39791247)
    No, it's definitely prions. They were identified as an infectious agents and were even shown to evolve (!!!) resistance to experimental anti-prion drugs. []
  • Re:American Culture (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eivind Eklund ( 5161 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:16AM (#39791279) Journal

    It doesn't mean that the cow are fed cow meat at all. The prion [] that cause BSE [] can be created naturally through mutation, and then reproduce. This kind of mutation happens very occasionally, but it does happen often enough that we have seen it happen several times. This is believed to be such a case; to quote the Associated Press coverage []:

    Clifford said the California cow is what scientists call an atypical case of BSE, meaning that it didn't get the disease from eating infected cattle feed, which is important.

    That means it's "just a random mutation that can happen every once in a great while in an animal," said Bruce Akey, director of the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University.


  • Re:Don't eat T-Bones (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:55AM (#39791437)

    Cooking the meat doesn't help:

  • Re:American Culture (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:42AM (#39791691)

    Your referenced source says "Odds of being killed sometime in the next year in any sort of transportation accident: 77 to 1," which you paraphrased as "you kid will be killed by a car (77 to 1)."

    And there is obviously something wrong with this one, since your chances of dying next year aren't even 77 to 1. Perhaps they meant the chance that, if you die next year, you will die in any sort of transportation accident is 77 to 1.

    Or maybe they just made it up, since your referenced source has no referenced sources.

  • Re:American Culture (Score:5, Informative)

    by xenobyte ( 446878 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @04:35AM (#39792359)

    BSE is poorly tested for in the USA (regulations not adhered to or relaxed) , this is why many US beef products are/were unwelcome in Japan.
    Human infection is understated, symptoms and diagnosis can take 10 years to manifest. There are postmortem studies performed in the 90's that indicate over 25% of diagnosed dementia and Alzheimer's victims were actually BSE infected individuals.

    These studies were not widely distributed and testing has been allowed to become relaxed for purely economic reasons. ... See the UK incidence.

    Humans don't get BSE (Hint: The 'B' stands for 'Bovine') - they get Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD). They're both prion diseases but the actual prion involved differs. It is believed that BSE prions from food can trigger invalid folding of the CJD prion in humans and thus CJD but the details are not completely understood. Both BSE and CJD can also be triggered through genetic defects, either hereditary or through mutations.

  • Re:Don't eat T-Bones (Score:4, Informative)

    by sonamchauhan ( 587356 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <cmanos>> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @04:48AM (#39792401) Journal

    This cow was destined to be fed to other cows (it was tested at a 'rendering' facility). So, statistically speaking, other infected cows have been processed and eaten by cows destined for food.

    Supposedly, high-risk portions (brain, spinal cord) are excluded from being turned into cowfeed, but have to wonder - do they get every last prion?

    The sooner they stop this nonsense, the better.

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