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Category: Technology

Autor: anton 01 September 2010

Words: 2853 | Pages: 12

The Horrifying Details of Mad Cow Disease


your name

Research Writing


September 30, 2002

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The Horrifying Details of Mad Cow Disease

Mad Cow Disease, scientifically referred to as (BSA) Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is a disease that affects those humans who eat the meat from infected cows.

I. Introduction

II. Opening Story

A. Introduction to story

B. Where he is from

C. Beginning point

D. Effects

C. Death

III. How it comes to be

A. How it spreads

B. What they feed the animals

C. Who has been infected

D. Step by step example

IV. Effects

A. What the disease does

B. How it affects humans

C. How it affects animals

V. Statistics and examples

A. Amount of Victims

B. Centuries of Diseases

C. Case Studies

VII. Conclusion

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The Horrifying Details of Mad Cow Disease

Mad Cow Disease, scientifically referred to as (BSE) Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is a disease that affects those humans who eat the meat from infected cows. Mad Cow Disease is one of several fatal brain diseases called (TSE) Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy. (USDA) There was evidence of a new illness resembling the sheep disease scrapie. It was technically named BSE but quickly acquired the mad cow tag because of the way infected cattle behave. (CNN) In 1997, there was an award given to Stanley Prusiner, for concluding that a distorted protein called a prion was responsible for Mad Cow Disease, noted the long incubation period made it difficult to distinguish (Bryant). Another name for Mad Cow Disease is the new variant Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), similar to the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is a deadly brain illness that strikes about one per million per year (USDA) due to genetic or unknown causes while the vCJD is contracted from eating infected cows (USDA). Both CJD and vCJD are so similarly named because of the similar effects from the illness.

This case study shows the effect of CJD. The story has been said to be on the natural occurring CJD but is still in the family with the same kind of effects as vCJD. It is just contracted differently. According to Rocky Mountain News in an article written by Lou Kilzer, Tracie Mcewen noticed something wrong for the first time on Mother’s Day of 1998 (Kilzer). Doug, her husband, always made her homemade cards for Mother’s Day, but he did not this year. Although Tracie thought Doug was mad at her or just being forgetful, he died ten months later from a rare brain ravaging disease (Kilzer). After his death an autopsy showed that it was not Mad Cow Disease. Some scientists wondered if his and four other deaths were somehow connected to a related disease in deer and elk called (CWD) Chronic Wasting Disease, considering that Doug was an avid hunter (Kilzer). Before losing Doug, Tracie wrote the following accounts of the ravages for

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a support group, serving families of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease victims (Kilzer). Tracie’s letter was written in January of 1999.

Tracie was twenty-eight years old at the time, and Doug was thirty years old. They have two girls, Sharon who is eight years old and Rilee who is three years old. They live about thirty miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah. Doug started having problems in the early summer. One of the first events was he forgot how to spell his name. Then he forgot little things, like to bring home some milk and even though Tracie called. He started having trouble getting all of his paper work done, so Tracie was doing his monthly expense report. About a month later, she noticed that he was having a hard time doing basic math. By the end of July, Doug was terrible. He went to Idaho on a business trip and was late calling home because he could not remember their phone number. When Tracie asked why he did not use directory assistance, he claimed he could not remember how to spell their last name (Kilzer).

By the middle of August, he could barely work. He blamed it on stress from traveling for work. He thought a new job might help, so Tracie typed his resignation because he could not remember how to use a computer. When he was looking for a new job, they found out that he could not fill out an application by himself. By the end of the month, they sold their mobile home that they lived in while finishing college and were going to move into the house they have just built, but Doug had no job. Tracie had not found a teaching contract yet. She decided to take him to the doctor when some friends came to help them move, and Doug did not know who they were. Doug’s resignation lost their insurance, so the kind house builder gave back all the money they put down. The

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family practitioner took blood tests. The test came back negative, and they were then sent to a psychologist. The psychologist claimed that Doug was depressed or had conversion disorder (meaning life had become too stressful, and all problems were in his head, mentally so he could get out of work). Tracie knew that the doctor was wrong, so the psychologist recommended a neurologist (Kilzer).

The first time Tracie heard of CJD was from the neurologist. When they met, the neurologist said, “I know what you are worrying about, but he is too young, and this disease is too rare”. After he said this, on came the long period of testing. Doug had over “100 lab tests, 4 MRI’s/MRA’s, EEG, CAT scans, spinal tap, cerebral angiogram, finally a SPECT showed an area of low and no blood flow on the left side of his brain. There were no other alternatives. They had a brain biopsy performed and a second spinal tap on November 24th. On November 25th, she was told he had TSE, which was an indicative of CJD. She argued with the doctors because the EEG and spinal tap said he was just fine. The doctors’ assured her that there was no mistaking what they saw (Kilzer). Nearly two weeks later a CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) sample also tested for CJD.

Tracie was later notified that Doug had six to eight weeks to live, at best. Despite the doctors’ opinions, she checked him out. Her feelings were if there is nothing they can do, then he might as well be with those who love him. Recently after, they arranged for a hospice which Tracie said “worked out nicely.” Later Tracie talked to a friend and said, “he is not the man I married and loved, he is the shell of that man. She had to let him go the best she could (Kilzer). Surely, that has got to be one of the hardest, most painful things to see and feel.

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On the other hand, their three year old daughter has continued to be cheerful while their eight year old is heartbroken. Doug goes through stages where he will not talk to anyone Sharon will climb on his lap and says, “I love you, Daddy,” and he will not even look at her. Last June, they were best of buds and together all the time. Tracie painfully decided to have Sharon stay with a close friend after an unforgettable event occurred. Doug was getting very agitated and thought Sharon said something she did not. Doug tried to chase her, arms flailing and yelling. Shortly after Sharon went to apologize, not understanding it was not her fault; she begged him to talk to her, but he would not even look at her. Then he pushed her off of his lap. Tracie did not want Sharon to remember her daddy that way, so she thought that would be better not to have her around her daddy in the final stages of the disease (Kilzer).

Near the end of Doug’s tunnel, Tracie quoted, “This is the worst thing I have ever seen, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy” (Kilzer). Tracie wrote in a later journal entry that Doug had his first seizure in bed. Tracie said, “It lasted about three minutes, after words he looked at her and said he loved her for the first time in the past two months” (Kilzer).

This disease shattered the future of two college graduates that were just settling down. The book of their life together has come to an end, and a new chapter is forming. After this letter, Doug’s condition worsened. He was still trying to talk to Tracie in January, although it was not very well. Tracie said, “I don’t trust the verdict on Doug’s case and believe there is something they aren’t telling us.” Before Doug’s death, officials gave Tracie a list of ten diseases from which he might be suffering, in order of their

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likelihood. CJD was last, and Alzheimer’s was number eight. Doug died at home on March 26, 1999 at 30 years old (Kilzer).

Mad Cow Disease was identified in 1985 when a vet, puzzled by odd symptoms he had seen in cattle, consulted scientists at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Weybridge (CNN). The cause of Mad Cow Disease are prions which are abnormal shaped, and infectious protein molecules. The invisible prions in a person’s immune system can be frozen, boiled, and soaked in acid. Most will stay no less deadly than before (Cannibals). A person once asked if certain cuts in beef were more risky. Their theory appeared to be true. European health agencies believe that the greatest dangers are from burgers, sausages and meat still connected to the bone, for example, T-bone steak (Cannibals). The items likely to contain nerve fibers are most likely to harbor Mad Cow diseased prions (Cannibals). Supposively, flank steak and fillet mignon are safer.

It has been believed by experts the that BSE started when cows were fed scrapie. Since the 1930s, cattle feed was produced by animal left-overs. After the 1970s and 1980s, the way of making feed changed. The reason cattle feed was altered is because cattle carcasses that were infected were being manufactured back into the food chain. As many as 500,000 contaminated beef carcasses were thought to have entered the food chain (CNN). In the mid-1980s, large numbers of British feared eating beef burgers, cheap mince and pies (CNN).

The Texas Mill showed that its feed was not foolproof in late January (USDA). Besides their quick correction, Texas feedlots were supplied with parts of slaughtered cattle in the same way the United Kingdom Mad Cow started more than ten years ago

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(USDA). After this incident, the 1,200 cows that were fed protein-rich byproducts were sent to an undetermined destination by Purina Mills, Inc. owner. Some information by Newsweek claimed that the United States of America’s firewall is much weaker than what the common person assumes.

The known TSE’s have been seen in sheep, people, cows, elk, deer, mink, rats, mice, hamsters and maybe even monkey (USDA). Many Americans have been thought to and some even have Mad Cow Disease after their drugs and vaccines have been made with carrying products of BSE.

A step-by-step example of BSE is first a cow in England somehow contracts BSE. Second the remains of the diseased cow are put back into the food chain. Third, the contaminated beef is distributed to other cities and countries. Fourth, the feed contains infectious proteins known as prions. Fifth, contracted, the prions distort the normal proteins into abnormal shaped prions and then slaughtered for meat. The last stage is when the meat get shipped into market (Cannibals).

The effects of vCJD are very harsh but a part of reality. vCJD starts out with depression and memory loss, but in four to six months leads on to dementia, uncontrolled jerking of muscles, and then always ending in death.

In 1977, studies suggested that vCJD could be transmitted through blood (CNN). The white blood cells are found in the lymph glands which is a high risk of BSE infection. After this research, the British Government required all white blood cells to be removed

from all donated blood. In fact, a case study said a woman from Denver, Colorado contracted CJD from brain surgery. While visiting her parents in 1998, her neck and legs

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ached, which was commonly blamed on the drive. Later, they found out that Karen Bissell received CJD when the doctors used a patch of brain sheathing that was infected. vCJD is almost certainly contracted from eating mad cow meat (USDA). Mood swings, numbness, and uncontrolled body movements begin the horrific mind destroying death (USDA).

Humans who become infected usually see their problems as being in need of psychiatric help. People not realizing the authentic problems do not realize it until after the unsteadiness and involuntary movements (CNN). Before the victims’ deaths, they become totally immobile and mute (CNN).

The TSE disease continues among deer and elk in Colorado and in Wyoming. As for hunters and cattle, many will be infected after grazing on the same terrain (USDA).

There has been more than 168,000 cases of BSE reported in Britain

and some small numbers have been reported in Frame, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland (CNN). Other small cases have been reported in Canada, Denmark, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Italy and Oman (CNN).

Recently, many diseases have appeared in American. Scrapie appeared in the 1730s in sheep. In 1965, there was the transmissible mink encephalopathy. In 1980, the chronic wasting disease was found in elk and deer. In the most recent news, there is the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, which was found in cattle in 1985, in cats in 1990, and zoo monkeys in 1992.

A report by Seattle Times said that on several radio shows, callers have claimed to

know two Colorado mad-cow diagnosis. Seattle Times said: “Don’t believe a word of it” (Mad Cow). They claim both patients died of the classic CJD, having nothing to with meat

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consumption. Nearly three years ago, the classic CJD killed 300 Americans, but now up to date it was calculated to kill 600 humans per year on the other hand, Professor Lacey said, “This has been the whole basis of CJD over fifteen years--not to get at the truth, but to reassure in the short term.” A friend of mine has researched opinions on Mad Cow Disease in the USA, and people well aware of the disease said that they know it is in the USA while people with little knowledge trust every word from the government’s mouth.

In conclusion, BSE is a terrible disease that can kill many and painfully be used against the United States. Other countries could easily slip a diseased cow or diseased feed into the food chain and BOOM! The US has a brain ravaging disease slowly killing its citizens. Mad Cow Disease is a disease that people can believe or not believe. There are other diseases that are just as bad like CWD, but people have known about them. Mad Cow, BSE, vCJD--it is here and real and will kill anyone who gives it a chance. It does not pick an individual. It does not pick innocent or guilty. The people choose it. Mad Cow will either stop a person in his train of thought or fly past like a busy bee. This disease is not as well-known as some but is just as deadly. BSE has many terms all under the same definition. Whether a person sees this brain ravaging disease as a threat or a joke, it is up to each individual.

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Works Cited

“A Beef With Beef.” USDA. 8 Feb. 1999. Ask Jeeves. 29 Aug. 2002

Bryant, Gerry, Dr., and Monk, Philip, Dr.“The Queniborough Report” 26 Aug. 2002

“Cannibals to Cows the Path of a Deadly Disease” Newsweek. 12 March 2001

“Fear and Mystery Of Cross Species Killer.”

CNN 26 Oct. 2000. Yahoo. 26 Aug. 2002

Kilzer, Lou. “A Family Grieves: Young Utah Hunter’s Untimely Death Attributed To CJD

But Survivors Want Closer Look At Venison Connection.”

Rocky Mountain News 1 June 2002. Google. 29 Aug. 2002

“Mad Cow Update.” Consumer Freedom. 20 March 2000. Ask Jeeves. 29 Aug. 2002

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