Italy Has Second Case of Mad Cow Disease

LIVORNO, Italy, July 22 (UPI) — An Italian hospice said a 42-year-old woman dying there represents Italy’s second case of human mad cow disease.

The woman, of Livorno, is in the final stages of her struggle with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD, the human variant of the fatal brain-attacking illness, ANSA reported Wednesday.

Italy’s first case of the disease involved a Sicilian woman who died in 2003 after battling vCJD for about a year, ANSA reported.

The human variant of CJD is believed to be caused by eating meat infected with mad cow disease or BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), ANSA reported.

There is no known cure for vCJD, which was first reported in 1996, ANSA said.

A total of 217 patients from 11 countries have been identified as having had mad cow disease: three from the United States, 170 from the United Kingdom, 25 from France, five from Spain, four from Ireland, three from the Netherlands, two from Portugal and Italy, and one each from Canada, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

The disease has been incurred only in countries where the cattle disease has occurred, ANSA reported.

Contamination is believed to have come through receipt of blood from an asymptomatic, infected donor in three cases, all of which were reported in the United Kingdom, ANSA said.

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