Cancún

Satellite photo of Cancún

Cancún is a coastal city in Mexico's easternmost state, Quintana Roo. It is the municipal seat of Benito Juárez municipality and a world renowned tourist resort.

Geography

The average temperature in Cancún is 27° C (80° F) with more than 240 days of sunshine, and rain is rare, with late August through early October being the rainy season. The beaches are almost 100 percent limestone; the porous quality of the limestone makes for cool sand even under the intense tropical sun. Cancún is divided into two parts: The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancún Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. The mainland downtown commercial section (Cancún City), connected to the island by two bridges, has broad avenues lined with whitewashed shops, restaurants, and hotels.

History

In the early 1950s Cancun was an almost unpopulated and undeveloped island just off the Caribbean Sea coast of the Yucatán peninsula, home to three caretakers of a coconut plantation and small Pre-Columbian ruins of the Maya civilization. The government of Mexico decided to develop a tourist resort on Cancun, which was originally financed by a USD $27 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. A causeway was built to link Cancun to the mainland, and an international airport was built, along with what was at first a model city for workers, complete with housing, schools and medical facilities. On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is Nichupte Lagoon, which is used for boat and snorkelling tours of the area.

Although many international publications now spell Cancun as Cancún, in the area itself it is usually Cancún in Spanish and Cancun in English. This is probably a result of the fact that English-language type faces available in the early days of Cancun did not have accented characters, or the operators did not know how to access them because the keyboard codes were different from the ones they were accustomed to using. The Spanish is not really correct either. In Spanish, the accent usually falls on the second syllable. In the case of a two-syllable word, you would only use an accent to indicate that the stress falls on the first syllable, as in López.

The earliest known reference to Cancun called it Cancuen. There's also a site in Guatemala called Cancuen. Cancuen refers to a snake totem, usually identified with Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent). The romanization of Mayan words varies, but it is common to use an apostrophe to indicate a kind of glottal stop. It is probable that some Yucatecan or Mexican Mayanist wrote the name as Cancu'en, which was turned into Cancún by someone at the predecessor of Fonatur, the Mexican government tourism development fund that created Cancun. The belief that Cancun means "nido de viboras" (nest of snakes) is modern folklore, according to according to long-time resident Jules Siegel, author of the Cancun User's Guide.

Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the original very sensible master plan was repeatedly modified and, on the mainland, often ignored. Siegel who was the translator of Fernando Martí's "Cancun, Fantasy of Bankers," municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as to control squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city, he says.

Despite initial skepticism that forced the Mexican government to finance the first eight hotels, Cancún soon attracted investors from all over the world, but approximately 70% of the Hotel Zone properties are owned by Mexicans, many of them local residents, Siegel says. The figure is close to 100% for the mainland. Some observers believe that the resort is foreign-owned because they are confused by the hotel operating companies, which are international companies that supply administration and marketing services. They do not usually own the hotels themselves. Even outlets of restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Domino's Pizza are Mexican-owned.

The city has grown rapidly over the past thirty years to become a city of approximately 750,000 residents, covering the former island and the nearby mainland. Most 'cancunenses' here are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. A growing number are from the rest of America and Europe.

The city Cancun and its flourishing tourism industry were heavily damaged by Hurricane Wilma, which hit the area on October 22, 2005.

Environmental concerns

Although some environmentalists claim that Cancún is an environmental disaster, Siegel says that is not true. There has obviously been environmental damage and the situation could deteriorate rapidly, he reports, but at present (February 2005) Cancún's main problem is a breakdown of garbage collection and disposal as a result of political conflicts that will hopefully be solved by a new administration elected February 6, 2005. Sewage treatment is another danger point, he says. Although approximately 75% of the city has public sewer lines, many homes rely on septic tanks. The underground water table is beginning to show symptoms of contamination, but by the standards of most populated areas in the United States the water is still relatively clean.

"You can see the bottom of the Caribbean off Cancún in satellite photographs," Siegel says. He discusses this and other issues at length on his website, http://www.cafecancun.com.

Tourism in Cancún

The beach in Cancún

In Cancún there are about 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. The hotel zone is one of the most exclusive internationally, with upmarket restaurants, bars, and the like which have catered for quite a number of the rich and famous. The hotel zone tends to be rather expensive as it is aimed at visitors and relies on the all inclusive hotels to keep them all in this area allowing prices to soar. Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop like Walmart, Comercial Mexicana and Soriana, not to mention several flea markets like the one in the hotel zone.

Around March and April, Cancún experiences a flood of college students (usually from the United States) who travel to Cancún to party. For just about all of these students, drinking alcohol is usually the reason why they come to Cancún. The drinking age in Mexico is 18; while in the United States, it is 21.

Downtown Cancún gives us a different aspect. There are also many clubs for all types of people, including gay clubs like Karamba or Glow, but the hotels are more accessible to all types of travelers, including some with lower rates. International brands in Downtown area are Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America.

Ruins in Cancún

The temperature of the city is warm, moderated by the marine breeze which circulates through its avenues. The temperatures are typically between 26°C and 36°C (78.8°F and 96.8°F).

Cancún's hotel zone also has an interactive aquarium where visitors can see the marine diversity of the area, swim with dolphins and feed sharks. Here and there in the hotel zone are some ancient ruins.

The main language in Cancún is Spanish, although English is widely spoken throughout the tourist areas. Mayan dialects are also spoken between some workers and people born in the Yucatán peninsula.

Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport.

Hurricane Wilma

Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, beating the records set by the 1960 and 1961 seasons. At its peak, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and the tenth most intense globally, with the lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere of 882 millibars (26.05 inHg) at sea level, exceeding the record previously held by Hurricane Gilbert that also impacted the Peninsula of Yucatán some years ago.

Visible image of Hurricane Wilma near record intensity with a central pressure of 882 millibars. Image captured by satellite at 1315Z (9:15 EDT) on October 19, 2005.

On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds in excess of 150 mph. The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph. Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo. Some portions of the Yucatán Peninsula experienced hurricane force winds for well over 24 hours. The hurricane began accelerating in the early morning hours of October 23, exiting the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula and entering the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm.

Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly in Cancun. At least three deaths have been reported, numerous people have disappeared, and the insured damage is estimated at between US$5 and US$8 billion. The devastation was almost total with many of the principal roadways from the Hotel Zone completely flooded and damaged. It has been estimated that 95% of the tourism infrastructure was seriously damaged. Once the storm left the peninsula, some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun had been washed away. Thousands of local and foreign tourists were hosted in improvised refuges. All the Airport and Harbor Operations were cancelled between October 21 to the 25 due to the worst weather conditions.

Photo taken from the balcony of a Cancún hotel at the height of the storm.

It is estimated that after Wilma left Cancun, the local tourist industry lost over US $15 Million daily. Many houses were devastated, and many jobs were lost. However, thanks to the aid and support of local and state governments, the federal government, the Red Cross, and civil associations. reconstruction has been possible. American actor Mel Gibson donated an important amount of money to help the people in distress.

There was an exhaustive campaign by the media that featured public figures, including the President Vicente Fox, actors, musicians, etc. to aid people who suffered. The people's response was immediate and impresionant. People from all social strata helped carry water bottles to donate money in special bank accounts that principal banks created. It was estimated that Cancun will be completely ready to face the demanding vacationist wave on December 2005.

Today, Cancun once more lives and remains an attractive option to local and foreign tourists from all over the world.

Sister cities

  • Miami, Florida, United States
  • Wichita, Kansas, United States

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Today, Cancun once more lives and remains an attractive option to local and foreign tourists from all over the world. Instead, the agency relies on other methods, including death certificates and urging physicians to send suspicious cases to the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, which is funded by the CDC. It was estimated that Cancun will be completely ready to face the demanding vacationist wave on December 2005. In the U.S., the CDC has refused to impose a national requirement that physicians and hospitals report cases of the disease. People from all social strata helped carry water bottles to donate money in special bank accounts that principal banks created. In the UK anyone with possible vCJD symptoms must be reported to the UK Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit and so it is unlikely that any cases would be missed. The people's response was immediate and impresionant. As for vCJD in humans, autopsy tests are not always done and so those figures too are likely to be too low, but probably by a lesser fraction.

to aid people who suffered. It is noticeable that there are no cases reported in Australia and New Zealand where cattle are mainly fed outside on grass pasture and, mainly in Australia, non-grass feeding is done only as a final finishing process before the animals are processed for meat. There was an exhaustive campaign by the media that featured public figures, including the President Vicente Fox, actors, musicians, etc. Even so, currently the only reliable test is examination of tissues during an autopsy. American actor Mel Gibson donated an important amount of money to help the people in distress. Newer tests are faster, more sensitive, and cheaper, so it is possible that future figures may be more comprehensive. reconstruction has been possible. Tests are also difficult as the altered prion protein has very small levels in blood or urine, and no other signal has been found.

However, thanks to the aid and support of local and state governments, the federal government, the Red Cross, and civil associations. At the opposite end of the scale, Japan tests all cattle at the time of slaughter. Many houses were devastated, and many jobs were lost. For instance, in the EU the cattle tested are older (30 months+), while many cattle are slaughtered earlier than that. It is estimated that after Wilma left Cancun, the local tourist industry lost over US $15 Million daily. The tests used for detecting BSE vary considerably as do the regulations in various jurisdictions for when, and which cattle, must be tested. All the Airport and Harbor Operations were cancelled between October 21 to the 25 due to the worst weather conditions. The figures given above for BSE are certainly too low, and most likely by a considerable amount.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists were hosted in improvised refuges. BSE is the disease in cattle, whilst vCJD is the disease in people. Once the storm left the peninsula, some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun had been washed away. The following table summarizes reported cases of BSE and of vCJD by country. It has been estimated that 95% of the tourism infrastructure was seriously damaged. Indeed, US meat producer Creekstone Farms alleges that the USDA is preventing BSE testing from being conducted [10]. The devastation was almost total with many of the principal roadways from the Hotel Zone completely flooded and damaged. Even so, critics call the partial prohibitions insufficient.

At least three deaths have been reported, numerous people have disappeared, and the insured damage is estimated at between US$5 and US$8 billion. [9] Compliance with the regulations was shown to be extremely poor before the discovery of the Washington cow, but industry representatives report that compliance is now 100%. Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly in Cancun. In February 2001, the USGAO reported that the FDA, which is responsible for regulating feed, had not adequately policed the various bans. The hurricane began accelerating in the early morning hours of October 23, exiting the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula and entering the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm. [8] A proposal to end the use of cow blood, restaurant scraps, and chicken litter (fecal matter, feathers) in January 2004 was eventually scrapped, despite the efforts of some advocates of such a policy, who cite the fact that cows are herbivores, and that blood and fecal matter could potentially carry BSE. Some portions of the Yucatán Peninsula experienced hurricane force winds for well over 24 hours. In addition, it is legal for ruminants to be fed byproducts from some of these animals.

The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo. However, the byproducts of ruminants can still be legally fed to pets or other livestock and poultry such as pigs and chickens. Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. In 1997, regulations prohibited the feeding of mammalian byproducts to ruminants such as cows and goats. The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph. regulations only partially prohibit the use of animal byproducts in feed. On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds in excess of 150 mph. However, U.S.

At its peak, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and the tenth most intense globally, with the lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere of 882 millibars (26.05 inHg) at sea level, exceeding the record previously held by Hurricane Gilbert that also impacted the Peninsula of Yucatán some years ago. As a result, the use of animal byproduct feeds was never common, as it was in Europe. It was also the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, beating the records set by the 1960 and 1961 seasons. Soybean meal is cheap and plentiful in the United States. Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. [7]. Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport. Trace-backs revealed that this cow originated from a herd in Texas, making it the first BSE cow native to the United States.

Mayan dialects are also spoken between some workers and people born in the Yucatán peninsula. Tests carried out at the USDA laboratory in Ames, Iowa indicated the presence of BSE, and after subsequent confirmation from the Weybridge Veterinary Laboratory in the United Kingdom, the USDA acknowledged the second case of BSE on June 24. The main language in Cancún is Spanish, although English is widely spoken throughout the tourist areas. On June 10, 2005, the USDA reported a possible case of BSE in the United States. Here and there in the hotel zone are some ancient ruins. No case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has occurred in North America so far, except among those who have traveled to Europe. Cancún's hotel zone also has an interactive aquarium where visitors can see the marine diversity of the area, swim with dolphins and feed sharks. [6].

The temperatures are typically between 26°C and 36°C (78.8°F and 96.8°F). Japanese inspectors found material from cattle backbone in three of 41 boxes in a 858-pound shipment of beef from Atlantic Veal & Lamb. The temperature of the city is warm, moderated by the marine breeze which circulates through its avenues. Brooklyn-based Atlantic Veal & Lamb inspectors failed to notice there was bone material included in a shipment of veal to Japan. International brands in Downtown area are Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America. [5] It was, however, quick to reinstate the ban. There are also many clubs for all types of people, including gay clubs like Karamba or Glow, but the hotels are more accessible to all types of travelers, including some with lower rates. Japan lifted its ban on US beef in December 2005.

Downtown Cancún gives us a different aspect. [4]. The drinking age in Mexico is 18; while in the United States, it is 21. Notwithstanding, Japanese beef exports, chiefly the expensive wagyu, have been banned in the United States since Japan experienced its first case of BSE in January 2001. For just about all of these students, drinking alcohol is usually the reason why they come to Cancún. Since Japan and South Korea are the first- and third-largest importers of US beef, respectively, the economic impact of their bans is significant both for American cattle ranchers and for Japanese and Korean beef consumers. Around March and April, Cancún experiences a flood of college students (usually from the United States) who travel to Cancún to party. beef until the authorities can be assured of its safety.

Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop like Walmart, Comercial Mexicana and Soriana, not to mention several flea markets like the one in the hotel zone. discovery of BSE in 2003, Japan and South Korea instituted temporary bans on the import of U.S. The hotel zone tends to be rather expensive as it is aimed at visitors and relies on the all inclusive hotels to keep them all in this area allowing prices to soar. Shortly after the U.S. The hotel zone is one of the most exclusive internationally, with upmarket restaurants, bars, and the like which have catered for quite a number of the rich and famous. surveillance relied on a test that gave results only after two weeks, after which time the meat from an animal usually has all been sold. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. Until the switch, U.S.

In Cancún there are about 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. authorities called for a switch to the testing procedure that is used in the United Kingdom, which yields its results in one day. He discusses this and other issues at length on his website, http://www.cafecancun.com. U.S. "You can see the bottom of the Caribbean off Cancún in satellite photographs," Siegel says. The meat of the BSE-positive cow went to market, but some of it was successfully recalled before it was sold to consumers. The underground water table is beginning to show symptoms of contamination, but by the standards of most populated areas in the United States the water is still relatively clean. Only 200,000 cows slaughtered in 2003 were downers.

Although approximately 75% of the city has public sewer lines, many homes rely on septic tanks. [3] Therefore it is not clear how effective the ban is in reducing the number of infected cattle consumed. Sewage treatment is another danger point, he says. Furthermore, there is some dispute as to whether the cow was a downer or not. There has obviously been environmental damage and the situation could deteriorate rapidly, he reports, but at present (February 2005) Cancún's main problem is a breakdown of garbage collection and disposal as a result of political conflicts that will hopefully be solved by a new administration elected February 6, 2005. While the Washington cow that tested positive for BSE was reportedly unable to stand, veterinarians say the condition was unrelated to BSE. Although some environmentalists claim that Cancún is an environmental disaster, Siegel says that is not true. The government plans to double the number of cattle tested in 2004, and has banned the use of "downer cows" for human consumption.

The city Cancun and its flourishing tourism industry were heavily damaged by Hurricane Wilma, which hit the area on October 22, 2005. authorities have very little idea of how many American beef cattle might have the disease. A growing number are from the rest of America and Europe. As a result, U.S. Most 'cancunenses' here are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. Therefore, it is possible that even among those cattle that are tested and classified as negative, a proportion nevertheless may be contagious. The city has grown rapidly over the past thirty years to become a city of approximately 750,000 residents, covering the former island and the nearby mainland. Current tests reveal the presence of misshaped prions when they are abundant, but it is not known how far the disease must progress in an individual to transmit it to others.

Even outlets of restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Domino's Pizza are Mexican-owned. [2] Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman called the discovery "a clear indication that our surveillance and detection program is working." However, the United States tested only 20,526 cows in 2003 out of the roughly 35 million slaughtered. They do not usually own the hotels themselves. On December 23, 2003, the first case of BSE in the United States was found in a single Holstein cow in Mabton, Washington, although trace-backs later revealed that this cow originated from a Canadian herd. Some observers believe that the resort is foreign-owned because they are confused by the hotel operating companies, which are international companies that supply administration and marketing services. The United States also issued a temporary ban on all Canadian beef. The figure is close to 100% for the mainland. The animal was destroyed after being declared unfit for consumption.

Despite initial skepticism that forced the Mexican government to finance the first eight hotels, Cancún soon attracted investors from all over the world, but approximately 70% of the Hotel Zone properties are owned by Mexicans, many of them local residents, Siegel says. It occurred in a single older cow that may have contracted the disease from contaminated feed in earlier years. Siegel who was the translator of Fernando Martí's "Cancun, Fantasy of Bankers," municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as to control squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city, he says. The second was reported in Canada on May 20, 2003. Unfortunately, the original very sensible master plan was repeatedly modified and, on the mainland, often ignored. The first was in 1993, involving an animal born in Britain. Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s. As of January 2005, five BSE-infected cattle have been identified in North America.

The belief that Cancun means "nido de viboras" (nest of snakes) is modern folklore, according to according to long-time resident Jules Siegel, author of the Cancun User's Guide. regarding a possible risk of transmission of the BSE agent in gelatin products.". It is probable that some Yucatecan or Mexican Mayanist wrote the name as Cancu'en, which was turned into Cancún by someone at the predecessor of Fonatur, the Mexican government tourism development fund that created Cancun. that there were some licensed surgical sutures derived from French bovine material." Concerns were also raised: ".. The romanization of Mayan words varies, but it is common to use an apostrophe to indicate a kind of glottal stop. expressed concerns about the possible transmission of the BSE/scrapie agent to man through use of certain cosmetic treatments." Sources in France reported to the British Medicines Control Agency: ".. Cancuen refers to a snake totem, usually identified with Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent). there was no insulin sourced from cattle in the UK or Ireland and that the situation in other countries was being monitored." In 1991 a European Community Commission: "..

There's also a site in Guatemala called Cancuen. no licensing action is required at present in regard to products produced from bovine material or using prepared bovine brain in nutrient media and sourced from outside the United Kingdom, the Channel Isles and the Republic of Ireland provided that the country of origin is known to be free of BSE, has competent veterinary advisers and is known to practise good animal husbandry." In 1990 the British Diabetic Association became concerned regarding the safety of bovine insulin and the government licensing agency assured them that: ".. The earliest known reference to Cancun called it Cancuen. use of bovine insulin in a small group of mainly elderly patients was noted and it was recognised that alternative products for this group were not considered satisfactory." A medicines licensing committee report that same year recommended that: ".. In the case of a two-syllable word, you would only use an accent to indicate that the stress falls on the first syllable, as in López. identify relevant manufacturers and obtain information about the bovine material contained in children’s vaccines, the stocks of these vaccines and how long it would take to switch to other products." It was further reported that the: ".. In Spanish, the accent usually falls on the second syllable. "..

The Spanish is not really correct either. On May 7, 1999 in his written statement number 476 to the BSE Inquiry, David Osborne Hagger reported on behalf of the Medicines Control Agency that in a previous enquiry the Agency had been asked to:. This is probably a result of the fact that English-language type faces available in the early days of Cancun did not have accented characters, or the operators did not know how to access them because the keyboard codes were different from the ones they were accustomed to using. During the course of the investigation into the BSE epidemic, an enquiry was also made into the activities of the Department of Health and its Medicines Control Agency. Although many international publications now spell Cancun as Cancún, in the area itself it is usually Cancún in Spanish and Cancun in English. [1]. On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is Nichupte Lagoon, which is used for boat and snorkelling tours of the area. In 2005 a controversial paper in The Lancet suggested that BSE might have originated in British cattle when they ate imported animal feed that included infected human remains from Hindu funeral ceremonies in India.

A causeway was built to link Cancun to the mainland, and an international airport was built, along with what was at first a model city for workers, complete with housing, schools and medical facilities. So far nothing is known about the relative transmissibility of the two disease strains of BSE prion. The government of Mexico decided to develop a tourist resort on Cancun, which was originally financed by a USD $27 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. But cruder measures yield a "biochemical signature" by which the newly discovered cattle strain appears different from the familiar one, but similar to the clumped prions in humans with traditional CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).The finding of a second strain of BSE prion raises the possibility that transmission of BSE to humans has been underestimated, because some of the individuals diagnosed with spontaneous or "sporadic" CJD may have actually contracted the disease from tainted beef. In the early 1950s Cancun was an almost unpopulated and undeveloped island just off the Caribbean Sea coast of the Yucatán peninsula, home to three caretakers of a coconut plantation and small Pre-Columbian ruins of the Maya civilization. Very little is known about the shape of disease-causing prions, because their insolubility and tendency to clump thwarts application of the detailed measurement techniques of structural biology. The mainland downtown commercial section (Cancún City), connected to the island by two bridges, has broad avenues lined with whitewashed shops, restaurants, and hotels. In other words, this implies a second strain of BSE prion.

Cancún is divided into two parts: The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancún Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. In 2004 researchers reported evidence of a second contorted shape of prions in a rare minority of diseased cattle. The beaches are almost 100 percent limestone; the porous quality of the limestone makes for cool sand even under the intense tropical sun. As a result the full extent of the human vCJD outbreak is still not fully known. The average temperature in Cancún is 27° C (80° F) with more than 240 days of sunshine, and rain is rare, with late August through early October being the rainy season. This is attributed to the long incubation period for prion diseases, which are typically measured in years or decades. . Although the BSE epidemic was eventually brought under control by culling all suspect cattle populations, people are still being diagnosed with vCJD each year (though the number of new cases currently seems to be dropping).

It is the municipal seat of Benito Juárez municipality and a world renowned tourist resort. It is estimated that 400,000 cattle infected with BSE entered the human food chain in the 1980s. Cancún is a coastal city in Mexico's easternmost state, Quintana Roo. Disease incidence also appears to correlate with slaughtering practices that led to the mixture of nervous system tissue with hamburger and other beef. Wichita, Kansas, United States. For many of the vCJD patients, direct evidence exists that they had consumed tainted beef, and this is assumed to be the mechanism by which all affected individuals contracted it. Miami, Florida, United States. Up to date statistics on all types of CJD are published by the UK CJD Surveillance Centre in Edinburgh.

There is also some concern about those who work with (and therefore inhale) cattle meat and bone meal, such as horticulturists, who use it as fertilizer. Three cases of vCJD occurred in people who had lived in or visited Britain--one each in Ireland, Canada and the United States. Of the 157 cases of vCJD in humans so far, 148 occurred in the United Kingdom, 6 in France, and one in Italy. This is a separate disease from 'classical' Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is not related to BSE and has been known about since the early 1900s.

Following an epidemic of BSE in Britain, 157 people (as of 2004) acquired and died of a disease with similar neurological symptoms subsequently called vCJD, or (new) variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. While other European countries like Germany required said animal byproducts to undergo a high temperature steam boiling process, this requirement had been eased in Britain as a measure to keep prices competitive. A contributing factor seems to have been a change in British laws that allowed a lower temperature sterilization of the protein meal. A change to the rendering process in the early 1980s may have resulted in a large increase of the infectious agents in the cattle feed.

However, soybeans do not grow well in Europe, so cattle raisers throughout Europe turned to the less expensive animal byproduct feeds as an alternative. Worldwide, Soybean meal is the primary plant-based protein supplement fed to cattle. The use of meat and bone meal as a protein supplement in cattle feed was widespread in Europe prior to about 1987. The tissues that contain most of the pathogenic molecules are those of the brain and the nervous system, although infectious amounts have been shown experimentally to be present elsewhere, such as in blood.

As more animals became ill, more infectious tissue got into the feed, and so the number of cases reached epidemic proportions. This practice allowed the accumulation of prions over many generations. Prior to the BSE epidemic, cattle were fed with meat and bone meal, a high-protein substance obtained from the remnants of butchered animals, including cows and sheep. However, sheep and cattle TSEs are quite different and it is now thought more likely that BSE could have originated with a case of sporadic BSE in a single bovine.

It was first believed to have originated in sheep, in which the related prion disease scrapie is common (such diseases collectively are called "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies" or TSEs). The British BSE epidemic in cattle was recognised in 1986. These aggregate to form dense plaque fibers, which lead to the microscopic appearance of "holes" in the brain, degeneration of physical and mental abilities and ultimately death. In the brain these proteins cause native cellular prion protein to deform into the infectious state which then goes on to deform further prion protein in an exponential cascade.

Transmission can occur when healthy animals consume tainted tissues from others with the disease. Most TSEs, however, occur sporadically in animals that do not have a prion protein mutation. TSEs can arise in animals that carry a rare mutant prion allele, which expresses prions that contort by themselves into the disease-causing shape. BSE is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

Misshapen ("misfolded") prion proteins carry the disease between individuals and cause deterioration of the brain. Unlike other kinds of infectious disease which are spread by microbes, the infectious agent in BSE is a specific type of protein. . While never having killed cattle on a scale comparable to other dreaded livestock diseases, such as foot and mouth and rinderpest, BSE has attracted wide attention because people assume humans can contract the disease, but it has never been proven that BSE has any link to variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD), sometimes called new variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (nvCJD), a human brain-wasting disease.

The disease appears transmissible to humans. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease of cattle, which infects by a mechanism that shocked biologists on its discovery in late 20th century.

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