Patient Dies From Mad Cow Disease in Texas

Posted on June 5, 2014

A Texas patient has died from Mad Cow disease. Lab tests confirmed the patient was suffering from Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (Variant CJD or vCJD). The fatal brain disorder, caused by infectious prions, can spread from diseased cows to humans if people eat contaminated beef. This is only the fourth confirmed death in the U.S. from mad cow.

The image above is a light photomicrograph of brain tissue (magnified 158x) revealing the presence of typical amyloid plaques found in a 2004 case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)

The CDC confirmed the lab test results in a press release. The confirmation was made following an autopsy of the patient's brain. The CDC says the infection likely occurred outside the U.S. The patient traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East. There have been 220 variant CJD patients worldwide since the disease was first described in 1996. The bulk of them (177 cases) have occurred in the U.K.

CNN reports that the Texas Department of Health also issued the following statement: "There are no Texas public health concerns or threats associated with this case." The full statement can currently be found on the front of the Texas Department of State Health Service's homepage.

A CDC fact sheet on Variant CJD can be found here.

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