Mad cow disease is a fatal disease that destroys the central nervous system of cattle. The same insane cow disease that affects animals cannot affect humans, but there is a human form of the mad cow disease, which is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). CJD rapidly destroys a person’s brain and spinal cord, leading to dementia and, ultimately, death. CJD is caused by the buildup of abnormal prion protein in the brain. These prions affect the brain’s signaling process, and damages neurons, resulting in degeneration. The disease is fast-progressive and a hundred percent fatal. Death is almost sure within one year of onset of illness.
A type of CJD is the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). A person can get vCJD if he has eaten a nerve tissue of infected cattle.