I’m a journalist who used to write quite a lot about the U.S. beef industry, and I doubt she had the variant form. There just isn’t much proof that cows in the U.S. herd have this in numbers widespread enough to pass it on to humans. There was a case in Indiana about seven years ago in which people claimed that a man died of "Mad cow disease" but it turned out to be traditional CJD on second look. The same thing is likely to happen here. The article says traditional CJD causes 10,000 U.S. deaths a year – that is inaccurate. Sounds way too high, though I don’t know the actual number. Probably several hundred at most.
If this does turn out to be a case transmitted by beef, that will force a major revolution in the U.S. meat industry. It might mean similar steps to the ones taken in England, in which hundreds of thousands of animals were slaughtered. It would be a disaster for U.S. beef producers.