Mad Cow Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (cont.)
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Prevention of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Public-health authorities maintain that the food supply in the U.S. is extremely safe. Additionally, the number of cases in the U.K. has decreased dramatically over the past decades. Still, the only absolute way to avoid infection is to entirely eliminate the consumption of beef and other animals that may be prion-infected. Milk and milk products from sheep can transmit prions; currently cow's milk has not been linked as a means of prion transmittal but few studies have been done.
The U.S. government has implemented a number of measures to prevent BSE from entering the U.S. and to prevent the spread of the disease, as outlined by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Some of these measures include the following:
Live animal tests may provide valuable information about the level of BSE in all animals, including downer cattle and cattle aged 24 months or older (those most at risk and in whom BSE is found). However, currently there is no sensitive and reliable live animal test for BSE and the only definitive test can be made on the brain and other tissues after slaughter.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/18/2014
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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are related disorders.