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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Dutch confirm first case of vCJD
Dutch meat testing
All beef in the Netherlands is tested for "mad cow disease"
The Netherlands has diagnosed its first known case of the human form of "mad cow disease" - known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

The patient is in hospital and health checks are under way for other cases, the interior ministry said.

It is the first time a Dutch person has contracted the fatal brain-wasting disease - out of 150 cases previously reported worldwide, mostly in the UK.

Mad cow disease has hit more than 70 animals in the Netherlands since 1997.

The interior ministry says that Dutch beef is safe to eat because all cattle are tested at slaughter.

vCJD is thought to be caused by eating beef products from cows infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) as it is properly called.

Tissue close to the animal's nervous system is especially dangerous.

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