BSE, also known as mad cow disease, stands for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. This cattle disease also causes a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a deadly human brain disease. BSE resulted in disaster for cattle farmers in the United Kingdom: more than 180,000 cattle infected with BSE had to be destroyed.
Last case of BSE in the Netherlands in 2011
BSE is an infectious disease belonging to the group of "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies" (TSEs) or prion diseases. Since 1987, a total of 88 cattle from the Netherlands have been diagnosed with a BSE infection. Since the last case, in September 2011, no new cases have been reported in the Netherlands.
Sporadic cases in Europe
in October 2018, a case of BSE was discovered on a farm in Scotland. This discovery is not unique. For example, two cases have been reported on the continent of Europe in 2016 and four in 2017.
In humans, BSE causes a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which has been diagnosed in three patients in the Netherlands (until 2011), all of whom died (in 2005, 2006 and 2009). Worldwide more than 220 patients have been diagnosed with this variant of CJD.