Mad Cow Disease in California
In April 2012, the first case of mad cow disease was reported in the U.S. in six years, occurring in a dairy cow in California. A dairy cow in Alberta, Canada, was identified as being infected in August 2011.
Mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathyor BSE, is a fatal disease that causes degeneration of the brain tissue in infected cows. The condition, when transmitted to humans, can cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD, a very rare and fatal brain disease in humans that has similar symptoms (for example, ataxia, jerky movements, seizures) to those seen in BSE. Humans also develop dementia, memory loss, and personality changes.