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Mad Cow (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)


When bovine prions stampede the wrong way, everyone says Moo! Memorable plush representation of Mad Cow disease is the perfect gift for friends, family, educators, scientists, public health professionals, veterinarians, and anyone with a healthy sense of humor.

GIANTmicrobes Mad Cow provides a fun hands-on way to learn about protein prions and how this neurodegenerative disease destroys the nervous system. Features detailed stitching, high quality materials and includes an educational printed card with fascinating facts about this disease.

Size: 8 x 2 x 1.5”


  • Mad Cow (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) Mad Cow (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) GMUS-PD-0480
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Product Details

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Sizes Giantmicrobes are based on actual microbes, cells, organisms and other critters, only 1,000,000 times actual size!
Gigantic (GG) 16-24"
XL (XL) 10-15"
Original (PD) 5-8"
Keychain (KC) 2-4" with clip
Materials Plush from all new materials. Stuffed with polyester fiber fill. Surface washable: sponge with water & soap, air dry.
Packaging Each plush microbe includes a printed card with fun, educational and fascinating facts about the actual microbe or cell.
Safety Every product meets or exceeds U.S. and European standards for safety. For ages 3 and up.

All about Mad Cow (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)

FACTS: First identified in Britain in the mid-1980's, Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), is generally thought to be the work of proteinaceous infectious particles, or prions. These inanimate amino acid chains (which are far smaller than bacteria or viruses, and are not destroyed by thorough cooking) normally twist like pretzels into a particular shape. According to theory, they can get a little crazy and twist the wrong way. Similar proteins follow the herd, go nuts as well, and congeal into long rods that ultimately inhibit brain function. (Other prion diseases include the sheep-disease scrapie; Kuru, once found in the cannibals of Papua-New Guinea; and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a variant of which is believed to be Mad Cow in humans.)

Although Mad Cow prions are typically found in brains and spinal tissues, and are thought to be transmissible primarily by direct consumption, even cows and humans without a predilection for consuming nervous tissues are at risk: at processing plants, these materials can end up both in cattle feed and on your sirloin steak. (In fact, cattle feed contaminated with scrapie-infected sheep tissue is credited with spreading ovine prions into the bovine population.)

With an up-to-decades-long latency period, no cure, no treatment, and no chance of recovery, concern about BSE is no bull. Nevertheless, the risk of infection is extremely low. Strenuous efforts are being made to prevent the spread of Mad Cow, including the implementation of strict animal feed regulations and processing standards. So beef-eaters are hardly insane to keep eating – though that may make cows even madder....

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