Brazil investigates possible case of mad cow disease

Black and white cow looks into camera with a yellow ear tag
Cows with ear tags, photo: Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Brazil’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it is investigating a possible case of mad cow disease, according to news agency Reuters.

Mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, is a fatal disease that slowly destroys an infected animal’s brain and spinal cord. There’s no cure for it.

In rare cases, humans can get a form of mad cos disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). This can happen if a person eats nerve tissue of an animal infected with mad cow disease. Over time, vCJD destroys the brain and spinal cord of a person.

An anonymous industry source told Reuters that the suspected mad cow disease case in Brazil happened in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

The agriculture ministry said such mad cow disease investigations are routine and promised to announce its findings.

In 2019, Brazil’s government reported that mad cow disease had been detected in a 17-year-old cow in Mato Grosso state, adding that no parts of that animal had entered the food chain.


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