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BSE & vCJD: What Pharmacists Need to Know About Mad Cow Disease


Patients are asking pharmacists and other health care professionals for information about mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and its relationship to the new variant form of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD). Unlike the classic form of sporadic CJD, the majority of vCJD cases have been acquired from eating beef products from cattle infected with BSE. Overall, the chance of developing vCJD is infinitesimally small, but it cannot be ignored in countries where BSE has occurred—a group that now includes the United States.


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Questions and answers on FDA guidance entitled "Revised preventive measures to reduce the possible risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD) disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) by blood and blood products.”