World News and Trends: BSE hits Western Europe

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BSE hits Western Europe

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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad-cow disease, is nearly always fatal and has no known medical cure. The human form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), affects young people in particular. It is a neurodegenerative malady of the brain that incapacitates the central nervous system. It apparently originated when beef suppliers fed cattle the ground-up remains of animal carcasses.

The Times (London) explains: “Over the past month [October] it has belatedly dawned on France that people have long been eating meat from cattle infected with BSE.” By December BSE was confirmed in five German cows with one possible case of CJD, the first human victim in Germany.

This disease is a political football in Western Europe. Until recently the European Union virtually banned British beef on the Continent. Some in Britain are calling for the United Kingdom to ban French beef. (Sources: The Daily Mail [London], The Times [London].)

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