New case of BSE (Mad-Cow Disease) found in the United States

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th April 2012

A new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE),  commonly known as mad-cow disease, has been found in a dairy cow in California, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA).

BSE, commonly known as mad-cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord.

In humans, it is known as new variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD). By October 2009, it had killed 166 people in the United Kingdom, and 44 elsewhere after around 460,000 and 482,000 BSE-infected animals had entered the human food chain.

According to the USDA, the carcass of the cow is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed.

A statement published by the USDA said that the cow “was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health”.

Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.

The USDA said, “We are sharing our laboratory results with international animal health reference laboratories in Canada and England, which have official World Animal Health (OIE) reference labs. In addition, we will be conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation in conjunction with California animal and public health officials and the FDA.

“This detection in no way affects the United States’ BSE status as determined by the OIE. Consequently, this detection should not affect U.S. trade.”