Mad cow disease can be airborne – like a football

Oh science, why do you do these things?

Rose sent me a link about mad cow disease being spread through the air, and I read the whole article and agree 100%.  Just like a football can be spread through the air by throwing it, one can take bits of infected cow brain, throw them around like confetti, and if they fall in your mouth, you die.

That’s pretty much what the researchers did, which adds mad cow disease to a special class of “can be made airborne and kill you” items that previously was reserved for cutlery.  And anvils.

Somehow, this research, and you know there’s a grant application lurking in there somewhere, but this research attempts to solve the riddle of how vegetarians died from the human form of mad cow disease, which should be impossible since eating cow is by definition not vegetarian.  The new theory, which rivals the craziest JFK nonsense I can dream up, is that some rogue agent ground up some sick cow and gave it to a dude known for doing spit takes in the cafeteria.

The researchers do point out that this scenario pretty much never happens, and we shouldn’t shun sick humans because they’re not actually capable of exhaling bits of their own brains, so they’re safe to be around.  Where the story gets interesting is the workplace safety issues that come up for slaughterhouse workers, where stuff sprays around an awful lot, and hey, Daily Mail, since you went to the trouble of finding out that 170 people have died from mad cow disease since 1996, would it kill you, not literally because you inhaled a big whiff of brain, but would it kill you figuratively, to share if any of these people worked in slaughterhouses?

Anyway, until more research is done, and you can be sure someone’s going to do it, you should hold off on throwing your prions in the air like you just don’t care.  The life you save could be, well, mine.

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