CENSORED IN 1994: DEADLY "MAD COW DISEASE"
A new and ghastly disease which turns the brain sponge-like and has been attacking dairy cows in England for years, has now appeared in North America. Nicknamed “Mad Cow Disease,” bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has infected more than 120,000 cattle since it was discovered in 1985.
BSE attacks the animal’s central nervous system and makes the animal fall, act confused, or act aggressive. It is thought that British cattle contracted the virus-like agent that causes this degenerative brain disease by eating protein feed supplements made from the rendered carcasses of sheep that were infected with scrapie, the sheep form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.
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While it has not been proven that humans can contract the disease from BSE-infected cattle, humans are susceptible to three brain diseases similar to BSE. The most common of these, though still rare, is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a horrendous condition that leads to rapid dementia and death within a year after its first symptoms appear. CJD has an incubation period of up to 30 years.
So far two British dairy farmers, whose herds were infected with BSE, have died from CJD, and a teenage girl whose favorite food is beef-burgers also is said to have developed the disease. Since 1989, the number of Britons who succumb to CJD each year has increased by 100 percent. Nonetheless, the official position of both the British and U.S. governments is that BSE poses no risk to humans.
The recent discovery of a case of BSE on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, has increased fears that a BSE epidemic threatens North America.
Sources for this story, the 25th censored story of 1994, were The Animals Agenda, March/April 1994, and In These Times, 1/29/94.
“But in the past half year, the affliction, which strikes one in a million people in the United States every year, has killed three Sonoma County residents. …”
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