New findings suggest that bovine spongiform encephalopathy can sometimes result from a genetic mutation.
Drs. Juergen A. Richt of Kansas State University and S. Mark Hall of the National Veterinary Services Laboratories published the research online Sept. 12 in the journal PLoS Pathogens.
According to the article, a 10-year-old cow from Alabama with an atypical form of BSE had a mutation in the prion protein gene analogous to the mutation in humans with the genetic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Researchers believe that BSE is primarily a foodborne disease and that humans contract variant CJD by eating products from cattle with BSE.