APHIS finds case of atypical mad cow disease in Florida
The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said last week it had found an “atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, a neurological disease also known as mad cow disease, in a 6-year-old mixed-breed beef cow in Florida.”
“This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States,” APHIS said in a news release.
APHIS noted that “BSE is not contagious and exists in two types — classical and atypical.”
“Classical BSE is the form that occurred primarily in the United Kingdom, beginning in the late 1980s, and it has been linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in people. The primary source of infection for classical BSE is feed contaminated with the infectious prion agent, such as meat-and-bone meal containing protein derived from rendered infected cattle.
“Regulations from the Food and Drug Administration have prohibited the inclusion of mammalian protein in feed for cattle and other ruminants since 1997 and have also prohibited high-risk tissue materials in all animal feed since 2009.
“Atypical BSE is different, and it generally occurs in older cattle, usually 8 years of age or greater,” APHIS said. “It seems to arise rarely and spontaneously in all cattle populations.”
This is the nation’s sixth detection of BSE, the agency said. Of the five previous U.S. cases, the first, in 2003, was a case of classical BSE in a cow imported from Canada; the rest have been atypical BSE.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recognizes the United States as negligible risk for BSE, APHIS noted.
“As noted in the OIE guidelines for determining this status, atypical BSE cases do not impact official BSE risk status recognition as this form of the disease is believed to occur spontaneously in all cattle populations at a very low rate. Therefore, this finding of an atypical case will not change the negligible risk status of the United States, and should not lead to any trade issues,” APHIS concluded.