Health Highlights: July 21, 2008

A patient at Cape Cod Hospital in Massachusetts is being tested for the human form of mad cow disease, the state's director of communicable disease control told the Associated Press.

Tests are being done to determine if the patient has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and whether it's the variant attributed to mad cow, said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, who added that it will be a few days before test results are available.

Only three cases of the human form of mad cow disease have been confirmed in the United States in the last several years, the AP reported. Officials said it's highly unlikely that the patient in Cape Cod Hospital has the disease.

The hospital notified public health officials Thursday about a patient with test results that required reporting, said a hospital spokesman. Hospital officials were told the illness wasn't contagious and there was no cause for concern, the spokesman said.

Eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease causes the human form of mad cow disease.

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