bovine spongiform encephalopathymedical dictionary

A new disease of cattle, first reported in 1986 in Great Britain, characterised clinically by apprehensive behaviour, hyperesthesia, and ataxia and histopathologically by spongiform changes in the gray-matter neuropil of the brain stem; it is thought to be caused by an agent, possibly a prion, similar to that observed as the cause of scrapie.

Synonyms: mad cow disease.

Acronym: BSE

(05 Mar 2000)