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Ireland Records First Human Form of Mad Cow Disease

Irish physicians have recorded what they believe is the country's first case of the human variant of mad cow disease, a fatal brain-wasting illness.

Physicians said Wednesday in Dublin that tests on a man in his early 20's have confirmed he is most likely suffering from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The illness is the human form of the brain-wasting disease in cattle known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Physicians say humans usually contract the human form of the illness by eating contaminated beef. The illness has killed more than 100 people in Europe, most of them in Britain, since the mid-1990s. The only previous case in Ireland involved a young woman who had spent much of her time in Britain.