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Tests have confirmed mad cow disease in a U.S. cow previously cleared of having the brain wasting illness, the Agriculture Department said Friday. It is the second case of mad cow disease in the United States.
Human health was not at risk, Johanns said. The animal was a "downer," meaning it was unable to walk. Such animals are banned from the food supply.
Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, occurs when proteins called prions bend into misfolded shapes. They deposit plaque that kills brain cells and leaves behind spongy holes.