Diseases Diseases

Symptoms Of Mad Cow Diseases

Introduction

Mad cow diseases are diseasee that typically affects cattle. The disease attacks the central nervous system of cattle and leads to death. The disease is particularly daunting because humans who eat beef from infected cattle can develop a variation of the disease that can produce similar symptoms of mad cow diseases that are seen in infected cattle. As with the cattle form, humans who have the variation will most likely die from the disease. Identifying the symptoms of mad cow diseases is important to prevent the spread of the disease and for developing treatment options. The disease is marked by a long incubation period that can make diagnosing it a bit of a challenge.

Cattle Symptoms

Symptoms of mad cow diseases usually develop within 2 to 8 years after the cattle is infected. The most common symptoms of the disease include a change in attitude in the cattle and uncoordinated movements. The cattle may also exhibit trouble walking and standing and poor milk production. After a period of time, the cattle owner will notice the animal is losing weight and has seemed to have lost its appetite. Eventually, the cattle will die after exhibiting the symptoms of mad cow diseases over an extended period of time. Once symptoms surface, the animal typically dies within 6 months. Some cattle owners take the step of destroying the cattle before it gets too far gone to avoid the spread of the disease among other cattle and to end the animal's suffering.

Human Symptoms

Although humans generally have mad cow diseases, they can have a variation known as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease mimics many of the symptoms of mad cow diseases. Humans who are infected with the variation of mad cow diseases will notice muscle spasms, memory loss and lack of muscle control. Some people who were infected with the disease also experienced anxiety, trouble sleeping and depression. As the disease progresses, sufferers of the variation of mad cow diseases will experience an unsteady gait. It can take years before a person who has been infected with the disease will notice the symptoms. In some instances, it can take decades before the first symptom makes its appearance. Once symptoms are exhibited, a sufferer of the disease can deteriorate within a year.

When to Seek Help

If a person is exhibiting symptoms of the human variation of mad cow diseases, help should be sought immediately. There is no cure for the disease, but there are treatment options available to help slow the progression of the disease. Treatment also helps to curb the affect of symptoms on a sufferers every day life. For instance, if a sufferer develops seizures while battling the disease, his doctor will recommend medications to stop the seizures if possible. A neurologist and infection diseases doctor will often work together to develop a treatment plan to slow the disease and its symptoms. New studies are focusing on treating cattle who have been infected and preventing infection. An infected person should ask his physician about participating in clinical trials to possibly benefit from new therapies designed to stop or slow the disease.

By Laurel Moore, published at 03/05/2012
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