Preparedness Empowers You

It saves lives, property, and time.

Emergencies happen, often with little or no notice. By taking action beforehand you can be prepared for any emergency.

Be Ready Navy!
I am. Are you?

Mad Cow Disease


  • Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly referred to as “mad cow disease,” is a fatal neurodegenerative disease.
  • BSE affects only cattle.


  • Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is thought to be the human manifestation of BSE.
  • vCJD is a degenerative neurological disorder (brain disease).
  • vCJD is ultimately fatal.
  • It is very rare, affecting only one in one million.

Transmission and Symptoms

  • vCJD is thought (but not proven) to be transmitted through the consumption of infected animal tissue, specifically beef.
  • vCJD is a neurodegenerative disease, usually presenting itself similarly to dementia.
  • Other symptoms
    • Prominent psychiatric/behavioral symptoms
    • Delayed neurologic signs
    • Painful sensations such as burning or pins and needles from neurological malfunctions


  • Currently, there is no treatment for vCJD.
  • It is an ultimately fatal disease with average illness duration of 14 months.


  • Caution should be exercised by those in Europe and other areas with indigenous cases of BSE.
  • You may consider avoiding beef or beef products that are not solid tissue (sausage, ground beef, and brains).
  • Be aware of beef recalls when they occur.
  • Remember that the possibility for infected beef is very small.

Where to Find Additional Information


Be Ready Navy—Be informed before, during, and after an incident; make a written family emergency plan; and build an emergency supply kit good for at least three days.

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