Livestock Diseases

The worldwide livestock industry is interested in measures that would guarantee the safety of the food supply provided by livestock. Outbreaks of livestock disease have resulted in export bans and collapsed markets. As one example, in the United Kingdom, the Mad Cow Disease crisis in the late 1990s led to a 40 per cent domestic decline in beef sales and the complete loss of many export markets.

Mad cow disease is the commonly used name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The disease is a slowly progressive, degenerative, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. The exact cause of BSE is not known.

Scientists are now exploring nanotechnology applications such as the use of small drug delivery devices. The devices could be implanted into cattle to avoid diseases such as BSE from entering the animals' central nervous system.

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