Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is a transmissible, neurodegenerative, fatal brain disease of cattle. The disease has an incubation period of four to five years, but ultimately is fatal for cattle within weeks to months of its onset. BSE first came to the attention of the scientific community in November 1986 in the United Kingdom (UK). Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) are diseases characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain with severe and fatal neurological signs and symptoms. BSE is one of several different forms of transmissible brain disease affecting a number of animal species.
While several human TSEs exist, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is the prototype human TSE. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is strongly linked to exposure, probably through food, to BSE.