- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -
A 22-year-old British woman living in Florida is believed to have a brain
illness linked to mad cow disease, the first known case in the United States,
health officials said Thursday. The woman is believed to have caught the
fatal disease by eating beef in Britain at the height of that country's
cattle epidemic, said Dr. Steve Ostroff of the Centers for Disease Control
- "There's every reason to suspect that she acquired
her illness there," he said.
- Officials with the Florida Department of Health emphasized
that there is no reason to suspect cattle in the United States have the
cow version, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE.
- "All evidence indicates her illness poses no threat
to anyone else or the agriculture industry," said state Health Department
spokesman Bill Parizek.
- Ostroff agreed there was no risk to Americans from the
case of "new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease" announced Thursday.
- Mad cow disease is a brain-destroying illness that first
surfaced in British cattle but now has spread to cattle in much of Europe.
A human form, referred to as vCJD, apparently spread by eating infected
beef, has claimed more than 90 lives in Britain and parts of Europe.
- Mad cow disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy
in cows, has never been found in U.S. cattle. Nor had the new vCJD ever
been diagnosed in anyone living here - although Americans can get a similar
disease, regular CJD.
- The woman was born and raised in Britain and lived there
at the height of that country's BSE epidemic. She was diagnosed in Britain
recently, but is living in Florida with her family now, the CDC said.
- British health officials informed their U.S. counterparts
of her illness Thursday.