Cow Madness

New mad cow woes

British beef blues

Curious cause

Down deer, ill elk

Can't happen here?

Laughing death in New Guinea

Identifying disease agents

Menacing microbes



The Why Files guide to mad-cow jargon
Need help with acronyms?Scientists crave acronyms and jargon in general. Here's what you gotta know to understand the mad cow situation.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy: BSE. Mad cow disease.

Chronic wasting disease: A TSE found in some deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: CJD. A fatal, human brain illness with genetic or unknown causes, appears in one person in a million per year.

Kuru: A human TSE found in New Guinea and transmitted when people handled and ate the brains of their dead relatives.

Scrapie: A TSE that has afflicted sheep since the 1700s or before. Not known to be transmitted to humans.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy: TSE. The group of infectious brain diseases caused by prions.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: vCJD. The "human" version of mad cow disease, similar to CJD but appears in younger people.




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