"Mad cow disease"? "BSE"? Which one is correct?

 

Q:

I'm teaching English in Niigata Pre. Japan. (I am not native English speaker.) These days, we're talking about "mad cow disease" with students. But today, I heard the radio said "BSE" instead of "a mad cow disease". And on the Asahi Weekly, it said, "mouth and foot disease." I looked up in English-English dictionary, and I understand the differences between them but still I can't figure out which one is the most accurate definition of "mad cow disease."

I don't know where is the English standard right now in the world. If anybody has a good explanation, please answer me. I just love English and want to make sure.

hola satake
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Posted 11 January 2002
A:

"BSE" are the initials for "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy," which is the scientific name for "mad cow disease," according to the website for the Center for Infectious Diseases, based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

The name "mad cow disease" is commonly used because the words are understandable, and they are descriptive of the symptoms that the cows exhibit. Because the disease attacks the nervous system, the cows' brains lose their functioning ability, and the animals act in a "mad" (another word for "insane" or "crazy") manner.

There is another disease called "foot-and-mouth" disease, which is unrelated to mad cow disease (BSE).