Published on April 22, 2005 at 5:52 PM
The first known case of the human form of "mad cow disease" - known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), has been diagnosed in the Netherlands.
150 cases have been previously reported worldwide, mostly in the UK, and this is the first time a Dutch person has contracted the fatal brain-wasting disease.
The interior ministry says the patient is in hospital and health checks are under way for other cases, they say that Dutch beef is safe to eat because all cattle are tested at slaughter.
Mad cow disease has hit more than 70 animals in the Netherlands since 1997 and is believed to be caused by eating beef products from cows infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
Tissue close to the animal's nervous system is especially dangerous.