bovine spongiform encephalopathybovine spongiform encephalopathy
A fatal degenerative brain disease of cattle, caused by a prion that can be transmitted to humans who consume infected beef. Also called mad cow disease.
(uncountable) (abbreviated as BSE)
- (pathology, neurology) A fatal, neurodegenerative disease of cattle, which is transmissible to humans through misshaped prion proteins, caused by eating infected tissues.
- The outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) have limited some traditional uses of cattle for food, for example the eating of brains or spinal cords.