'Mad cow disease' and CJD

Witness History

By BBC World Service

'Mad cow disease' and CJD

Wednesday, 29 September

In 1996 the UK government said there was a link between BSE in cattle and Variant CJD in humans. It's believed that more than 100 people contracted the debilitating and ultimately fatal disease after eating infected beef during an outbreak in the 1980s and 1990s. Initially scientists had no idea what was causing their strange symptoms, until a link was found that traced CJD back to BSE or 'mad cow disease', as it became known, in cattle. Millions of cows were destroyed and feeding practices were changed to contain the outbreak. Roger Tomkins and Sarah Shadbolt both lost family members to Variant CJD and share their stories with Rebecca Kesby. Photo: Cows. BBC.
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