"Mad cow disease causes brain degeneration and death in cattle, It has been linked to the deaths of nearly 100 people in Great Britain who consumed meat from infected animals. BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) has not been found in the United States since federal and state agencies began surveillance in 1989. The cattle industry is the largest sector of U.S. agriculture (beef and dairy production were valued at $3 1 billion in 1999), and if BSE were found in U. S. cattle, losses to the sector from declining meat sales and exports, and from mandatory herd depopulation, could severely harm the economic health of US. agriculture as a whole. This report describes: (1) Europe's measures to stop the spread of the disease; (2) actions that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory agencies are taking to control the known sources of risk; and, (3) the emergency response plan that USDA would implement if a case of BSE were confirmed. The report will be updated as events warrant."
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/