Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Warning Signs Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause Transmission Anatomy

Mad Cow Disease Overview

Another name for Mad Cow Disease is Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

What is variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare brain disorder that causes progressive dementia, leading to coma and death. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused by an abnormal protein, called a prion. The prion is present in cattle that have bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Humans may become infected by eating cattle that are infected with the prion. Cases of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are very rare because infected cattle are removed from the food supply.

What are the symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
Initial symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease include hallucinations, unrealistic ideas or plans, insomnia and mood changes. Symptoms of worsening variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease include abnormal movements, difficulty speaking, poor balance, facial weakness, confusion, hearing loss and tremors.

How does the doctor treat variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
There is no cure for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Treatment for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may include anticonvulsant medications, antidepressant medications, sedatives, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.

Continue to Mad Cow Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Mad Cow Disease References
  1. Beisel CE, Morens DM: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and the acquired and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Clin Infect Dis 2004 Mar 1; 38(5): 697-704. [14986255]
  2. Brown P: The risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ('mad cow disease') to human health. JAMA 1997 Sep 24; 278(12): 1008-11. [9307349]
  3. Collinge J: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Lancet 1999 Jul 24; 354(9175): 317-23. [10440324]
  4. Roma AA, Prayson RA. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: how safe is eating beef? Cleve Clin J Med. 2005 Mar;72(3):185-6, 189-90, 192-4. [15825799]
  5. Weihl CC, Roos RP. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, new variant creutzfeldt-jakob disease, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Neurol Clin. 1999 Nov;17(4):835-59. [10517931]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.