A 42-year-old Italian woman was reported as the second ever case of madcow disease in humans in the country and is currently hospitalised in desperate conditions, the ANSA news agency said Wednesday.
The woman was diagnosed with a variant of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) at a Milan neurological hospital in the past months and was then transferred to a hospital in Livorno, in western Tuscany, when she was already in a coma, ANSA said.
It is still unclear how the woman contracted the disease.
In 2009, Italy's health ministry had reported the woman's disease as a "likely variant of the CJD".
The only previous case of madcow disease in humans in Italy was reported in 2002 on the island of Sicily.
On Friday the European Union said it had nearly wiped out madcow disease in animals in Europe.
Only 67 positive cases of madcow disease were identified last year and the animals were old cows that could have been contaminated long ago, the EU said.
In the 1990s, panic erupted after Britain reported a link between madcow and a new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.