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Mad Cow Disease

Author(s): Sonia Rahmati Clayton, PhD, James Denk, MA, and Nancy Moreno, PhD

Mad Cow Disease: Human Infection

The agent causing Mad Cow Disease has been linked through epidemiology studies (research that follows the causes and distribution of the disease among different populations) and laboratory research to a similar disease in humans that also damages that central nervous system. Scientists hypothesize that humans contract a form of Mad Cow Disease by consuming parts of the nervous system from infected cattle. The human form is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), which is closely related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).