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Tennessee Man Diagnosed With the Human Version of Mad Cow Disease

A man in Tennessee was diagnosed with the human version of mad cow disease, WSET reported. 

Tony Gibson, 32, started to act strange and forgetful, so his wife, Danielle Gibson, took him to the Vanderbilt Medical Center.

He was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The condition is often caused by brain proteins called prions folding abnormally, is always fatal, according to ABC News.

"I had to start labeling the rooms in our home. He would get lost going to the grocery store, and someone would call me and say we have your husband," Gibson said. Her husband now needs 24-hour attention at a nursing home.

"This is the most devastating thing. I've seen ALS, I've seen a lot of terrible things, but this has to be the worst," she said. "It's unreal, what I've seen this man go through."

A GoFundMe page set up to pay for Gibson's medical costs raised more than $4,000 in its first day. 

GettyImages-456691988 Around the world and in the U.S., about one individual in every million is diagnosed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, according to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Most cases of the disease don't show any source of transmission, and CJD can't be spread through any form of contact. Between 5 and 15 percent of those afflicted develop the condition because of inherited genetic mutations. Less than one percent of those diagnosed fall ill because of brain and nervous system exposure from sources including contaminated meat or a medical operation. 

Around the world and in the U.S., about one individual in every million is diagnosed with CJD, according to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

CJD is thought of in relation with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, due to an outbreak of BSE in the late 20th century.

"Eating contaminated meat from cattle that have mad cow disease can cause variant CJD (vCJD), though it's very rare," ABC News reported. 

Since 1993, 26 cows in North America have been infected with mad cow disease. The first infected cow was found in the United Kingdom in 1986, catalyzing an outbreak that lasted until 2001 and infected 180,000 cattle, according to CNN. 

The rapid spread of the disease, which circulated among cows that because carcasses were fed to other cattle, led the European Union to prohibit British beef from 1996 to 1999. The disease was found in Canada and the United States, where the first case was confirmed in 2003. 

The U.S. only lifted its prohibition on EU beef in 2014, 15 years after a ban was implemented. 

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