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© 2001, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


The USDA announced on December 23, 2003 the first diagnosis in the United States of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in a dairy cow. BSE is not contagious. It is unlikely that an outbreak of BSE will occur in North American cattle because the United States and Canada took action in 1997 to prevent transmission via contaminated feed. The risk to human health from BSE is minuscule. However, the diagnosis may seriously affect beef exports from the U.S.