What is BSE? Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), often referred to in the media as mad cow disease, is an infectious, incurable and fatal disease which slowly attacks the brain and nervous system of cattle.
BSE, a novel disease which emerged only recently, is an example of the group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).
Some of these diseases have been known for centuries while others have been discovered only recently. They used to be known as “slow virus diseases” because of their extremely long incubation period, but it is now known they are caused by a totally novel type of disease agent.