SPAIN’S Ministry of Agriculture has reported a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as mad cow disease.
The case was discovered during routine testing in the village of Horcajo Medianero in the province of Salamanca in western Spain.
BSE is a fatal disease in cattle that causes a degeneration of the brain and spinal cord.
The disease may be most easily transmitted to humans by eating food contaminated with the brain, spinal cord, or digestive tract of infected carcasses. However, the infectious agent, although most highly concentrated in nervous tissue, can be found in virtually all tissues throughout the body, including blood.
In humans, it is known as new variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD or nvCJD), and by June 2014 it had killed 177 people in the United Kingdom, and 52 elsewhere, primarily in western Europe in countries supplied with beef or beef products from the UK.
Britain was seriously affected by an epidemic in the late 1980s. More than 180,000 cattle were infected and 4.4 million slaughtered during the eradication program.
It also affected other countries, including Spain, where 741 cases were detected between 1995 and 2007.