Ebers Papyrus, Vol 10, No 1 (2004)

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. Ernawati, Budi Kidarsa


Mad cow disease, also known as Bovine Spongioform Enceophalopathies, was identified as early as 1730 in Europe as scrapie. This zoonotic disease is believed to start infecting man in 1950 in New Guinea as Kuru disease. Whose symptoms are similar to Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. This case re-emerged in 2003 through a case in the United States which showed symptoms similar to variant Creutzfeld-Jacob. Incubation period of mad cow disease ranges from 5 to 10 years. Symptoms detected are due to brain tissue damage that forms a spongioform structure. The believed etiology is a protein without nucleus which has changed structurally and become infectious, known as prion. Prion can withstand heating, freezing, acidity, radiation and ordinary sterilization procedure. Prion is believed to spread when an uncovered prion touches one of the normal covered protein which forces it to open is cover and thus forming a new prion. Symptoms observed are deterioration of all brain functions such as: confusion, disorientation, nervousness, depression, slow and incoherent speech, tremor, walking difficulty, difficulty in controlling movement, forgetting anyone close. There is no effective cure yet. Some experts say that mad cow disease is found only in the brain and spinal tissues. Prevention is by avoidance of meat or meat products consumption from animals suspected being infected by mad cow disease and avoiding the use of cattle feed from processed animal tissue residues.    

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