On February 8, 2001, the New York Times published an article entitled "Five drug makers use material with possible mad-cow link." This article followed a Public Health Service statement on Dec. 22, 2000 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). MMWR is written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The New York Times article and CDC report were prompted by the confluence of several events:
Reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD, Lori Handy, MD, MSCE on February 08, 2018
- First, as of July 2000, about 175,000 cows in the United Kingdom developed a disease called "mad-cow" disease — a progressive disease of the nervous system of cattle.
- Second, at least 80 people in the United Kingdom developed a progressive neurological disease called variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD) that may have resulted from eating meat prepared from cows with "mad-cow" disease.
- Third, some vaccines are made with serum or gelatin obtained from cows in England or from countries at risk for "mad-cow" disease.