A standard questionnaire was used to record the presence of specific clinical signs reported for histopathologically confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy observed before June 30, 1990, and the frequencies of these signs were analysed. The signs most frequently recorded were apprehension, hyperaesthesia and ataxia, and there were variations in the frequency with which some signs were recorded in animals observed at different times during the epidemic. These variations were considered to be the result of differences between observers and differences in the duration of the illness, rather than a change in the clinical picture, which could possibly have occurred with a change in the nature of the agent to which the cattle had been exposed, or to a change in their response to the agent.
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