U.S. Confirms 4th Case of BSE
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the nation's fourth case of BSE. USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford says the animal is a dairy cow from central California. He stresses that the carcass will be destroyed and was never presented for slaughter for human consumption. As such - it never presented a risk to the food supply or human health. In addition - Clifford says milk does not transmit BSE. Clifford says evidence shows the systems and safeguards in place to prevent BSE - including the FDA ban on ruminant material in cattle feed - are working in the U.S. and around the world. He notes there were just 29 worldwide cases of BSE in 2011 - a dramatic decline and 99-percent reduction since the peak in 1992 of more than 37-thousand cases. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that USDA remains confident in the health of U.S. cattle and added the department has no reason to believe any other U.S. animals are currently affected.
USDA collects 40-thousand samples for BSE on an annual basis. Samples from this animal were tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. The animal was confirmed positive for atypical BSE - a rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed. The results - according to Clifford - will be shared with international animal health reference labs in Canada and England. He says the labs have extensive experience diagnosing atypical BSE and will review USDA's confirmation of this form of the disease. In addition - USDA will conduct a comprehensive epidemiological investigation in conjunction with California animal and public health officials and the FDA.
Clifford says this detection in no way affects the nation's BSE status as determined by the OIE - the World Organization for Animal Health - and therefore should not impact U.S. trade. He says USDA is confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products.
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