Possible Mad Cow in Massachusetts

A patient in a Cape Cod hospital may have the human form of mad cow disease. Local health officials are investigating. Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press reports:
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—via Wikipedia.
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Michelle - July 23, 2008 2:34 PM

I am a nurse in northern NJ and several weeks ago, I took care of a 69-year-old woman with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Her family said she had not travelled outside of the US and they do not know how she contracted it. I'm sure the CDC is investigating this case as well. How awful to go from being a wonderful and vibrant wife, mother and grandmother to an unresponsive shell in just a few short months. Scary indeed.

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