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Mad cow disease

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Mad cow disease --> bovine spongiform encephalopathy

a new disease of cattle, first reported in 1986 in Great Britain, characterised clinically by apprehensive behaviour, hyperesthesia, and ataxia and histopathologically by spongiform changes in the gray-matter neuropil of the brain stem; it is thought to be caused by an agent, possibly a prion, similar to that observed as the cause of scrapie.

Synonym: mad cow disease. A fatal disease of cattle that affects the central nervous system; causes staggering and agitation.