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Medical Term:

bovine spongiform encephalopathy


a disease of cattle first reported in 1986 in Great Britain; characterized clinically by apprehensive behavior, hyperesthesia, and ataxia, and histologically by spongiform changes in the gray matter of the brain stem; caused by a prion, like spongiform encephalopathies of other animals (scrapie) and human beings (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease [vCJD]).

Synonym(s): mad cow disease

© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.