What Is Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a transmissible neurodegenerative disease mainly found in cattle, which is passed to humans by the infected flesh. It leads to spongiform degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. This fatal spongiform encephalopathy has a long incubation period of 4-5 years and usually affects adult cattle. The virus enters the human body by eating foods that are contaminated with the spinal cord, digestive tract, and brain of the infected cattle dead bodies. This transmissible disease mainly affects the central nervous system in humans and the infectious agent can be found in the tissues all over the body. It is also called as Mad Cow Disease. In humans, the condition is often cited as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
What Are The Symptoms Of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is characterized by few symptoms which make them different from other mental diseases.
- Ataxia: It is a diseased condition in which one loses his control over voluntary coordination of muscle movements because of cerebellum dysfunctions due to degeneration caused by variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
- Jerky movements: In this, a person seems to make uncontrolled fast movements without any purpose. A jerky movement disfigures normal posture and figure of humans. It is also called chorea in medical terms. It is caused because of encephalopathy on the cerebrum.
- Seizures: It is a sudden outbreak of electrical activity in the brain for short period of time due to complex chemical changes that occur in nerve cells. The types of seizures vary with the type of lobe of the brain affected by the bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
- Dementia: Dementia is a medical term for a decrease in mental caliber of the brain to the extent that daily life of the patient is hampered like the potential to focus and pay attention is reduced, communication and language delivery is impaired.
- Memory loss: It is that state of mind when a person cannot remember who he is, what he is doing, where he came from and where he is heading to. This is because of degeneration of brain tissues related to cognition in bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
- Personality changes occur in this disease; these can be attributed to one's characteristic nature and style of behavior, cognition, feeling and thinking to an effect where it appears to be illness symptom. This is because brain develops tiny holes in bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
- Tingling, prickling, and burning: These symptoms are usually felt in the face, legs, feet, and hands.
However, these symptoms might not appear right away and a proper incubation period for the disease has not been identified yet. The confirmation of the presence of the disease is only done by brain biopsy and observing the changes in brains using MRI and other imaging tests.
What Are The Causes Of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
Here are some of the common causes of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy:
- Infection caused by a misfolded protein called prion. The causative agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a modified form of a prion protein which turns pathogenic and then damages the central nervous system like the brain and spinal cord.
- Transmission to humans via consumption of bovine spongiform encephalopathy contaminated meat and bone meal supplements of cattle feed.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
- It is unfortunate to know that there is no medicine to cure BSE patients completely. There are high chances that the patient may not be able to survive. But, one can still try to lower the symptoms of this deadly disease in the patient. Besides that, one can:
- Seek medical attention if the patient experiences seizures.
- Go for MRI scans and screenings to keep monitoring the brain activity.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
- Do not take any kind of medication or drug that may otherwise lead to confusion or memory loss.
- Do not consume infected brain or nervous tissue of animals. Make sure the meat is properly inspected. Buy only certified meat.
What Are The Best Foods For Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
- Research shows that milk and milk products of the cattle are considered good and safe to be taken as they do not carry the pathogenic prion proteins.
- Vegetables, fruits, and sterilized processed food materials are also consumable without any risks.
What Are The Worst Foods For Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
- Ruminant feed with risk parts of the cattle shouldn’t be used for food.
- Pet foods made up with the ruminant feed containing risk parts like brain and spinal cord should be avoided. Thus, all meat items become safe to eat.
- Foods contaminated with abnormal or pathogenic prion protein can lead to Bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
- Intake of contaminated “ruminant” meat and bone meal can trigger the onset of the disease.
What Are The Medicines For Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
What Are The Tips To Manage Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?
- The Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is not transmitted by normal physical contact, airborne droplets or sexual contact.
- Effective preventive measures are available to avoid the occurrence and transmission of the disease and are to be followed.
- As there is no cure or treatment for the disease and its variants, it is better to follow preventive measures.