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N Z Vet J. 1994 Feb;42(1):1-8.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and related diseases: an epidemiological overview.

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Epidemiology Department, Central Veterinary Laboratory, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB, United Kingdom.


Following the recognition of the novel disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Great Britain in 1986, epidemiological and other research studies were initiated. The initial results of these studies revealed that bovine spongiform encephalopathy was caused by a scrapie-like agent and the vehicle of infection was meat-and-bone meal incorporated into cattle feedstuffs as a protein source. The British cattle population became effectively exposed in 1981-82 and this was associated with a dramatic reduction in the use of hydrocarbon solvents for the extraction of fat in the production of meat-and-bone meal. The feeding of ruminant-derived protein to ruminants was statutorily banned in July 1988 to prevent further exposure from the food-borne source. This paper reviews the epidemiological aspects of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and the occurrence of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in other species.

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