Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in our Blood Supply
Uploaded by Admin on Nov 16, 1999
The well-being of the blood supply has always been a vital component of human existence. It is common knowledge that the existing blood supply is deficient to the increasing usage of blood and blood products. Ironically, as the topic of blood donation arises in society, fears and doubts as to how sanitary and healthful the blood of blood donors often surface. For instance, there is much criticism over allowing foreign travelers to Great Britain the opportunity to donate their blood. This criticism stems from the belief that the Great Britain endemic of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or "Mad Cow Disease") can be physiologically related to the lethal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Although there is hardly any scientific evidence that supports this allegation, the United States Department of Agriculture and the FDA have introduced strict restrictions concerning the importation of British cattle products and the blood donation of British travelers. Critics, politicians, and the general public often utilize the conjecture of illegitimate facts and myths to shape their opinions concerning BSE. This is fine and great, but I believe a valid opinion on the subject must be backed by significant facts entailing the clinical epidemiology and history of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, its relation to other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), possible transmission to the human species, the causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and any relationships between BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. My opinion, based on the facts, is what I offer to you.
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a fatal brain disease of cattle. BSE is most common in dairy cattle, but not rare in beef cattle either. Cattle affected by BSE experience a progressive degeneration of the nervous system. Infected animals may show changes in behavior such as nervousness or aggression (hence the term "mad cow disease"), abnormal posture, lack of milk production, anorexia, and excessive licking. All cattle affected with BSE either naturally succumb or are euthanized. BSE is most often found in the Holstein-Fresian of cattle, although all breeds are suseptible. The disease usually is introduced to the cattle near puberty (12-15 months), and the incubation period of the disease is 5 or more years. The period of actual infection to death is frighteningly brief; the animal is usually dead within 4 months of showing symptoms.
BSE belongs to a group of animal diseases term Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). Different forms of TSE diseases can affect felines, rodents, and other ruminant...