What causes BSE?
BSE is believed to be caused by a specific protein which becomes altered or ‘misfolded’. This protein is called a prion. It is this prion protein which can carry the disease from individual to individual, and which causes the deterioration of the brain and spinal cord. Under normal circumstances the prion protein is arranged in an alpha helical arrangement (resembling a spring). However, some animals carry a particular allele, which makes this previously normal protein contort into a different arrangement of molecules, called a beta pleated sheet. It is this malfunction of the protein which is the disease-causing shape, and which is often referred to as the ‘infectious agent’ of BSE.
- What is BSE?
- What causes BSE?
- How does the disease progress?
- What are the symptoms of BSE?
- Is there a test for BSE?
- When did the BSE outbreak occur?
- What was the epidemic caused by?
- How is the disease transmitted?
- Where did BSE originate?
- What has the Government done to reduce the risk of BSE?
- Can other animals suffer from BSE?
- Can humans suffer from BSE?