BRUSSELS, Belgium – A panel of European scientists confirmed a suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a 2-year-old goat slaughtered in France in 2002.
This is the first time that BSE, or mad cow disease, has been found in a goat under natural conditions.
The European Commission proposes to step up testing to determine if this is an isolated incident.
No others in herd. The infected goat was born in March 2000 and slaughtered in France in October 2002.
The goat and its herd were disposed and did not enter either the food or feed chain. The infected goat was the only one in its herd of 300 goats to develop BSE.
TSE or scrapie. The level of TSE infection in goats seems to be extremely low, officials caution. TSEs are transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, namely BSE affecting cattle and scrapie affecting goats and sheep.
Markos Kyprianou, EU commissioner for health and consumer protection, said the case was discovered through the EU testing system in place in France.
More than 140,000 goats have been tested since April 2002, including random testing of healthy animals, sick animals and those that die on the farm, Kyprianou said.
Extension of testing. The commission is proposing increased testing for BSE among goats for at least six months (200 000 tests of healthy goats in the European Union) to determine if this is an isolated incident.
The extent of the monitoring program will be based on the goat population in each member state and will focus primarily on member states where BSE is present in the cattle population.
All confirmed TSE cases will be subjected to a three-step testing scheme, already in use, which will make it possible to differentiate between scrapie and BSE.
Source of infection. The feeding of meat-and-bone meal to ruminants is generally considered to be the transmission route of BSE. In January 2001, the EU’s existing ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal to all ruminants was extended to a total ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal to all farmed animals.
USDA APHIS Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy