OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a 5 1/2-year-old dairy cow from British Columbia.
The announcement was made May 2. This is the 10th case of BSE uncovered in Canada.
No part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.
The British Columbia animal was identified at the farm level by the national surveillance program, which has detected all cases found in Canada.
The animal’s age matches the age range of previous cases detected in Canada and is consistent with the recognized average incubation period of the disease. This signifies that the animal was exposed to a very small amount of infective material, most likely during its first year of life.
An investigation is under way to identify the animal’s herdmates at the time of birth and the pathways by which it might have become infected.
An enhanced feed ban in Canada takes effect July 12, 2007.
Not unexpected. Canadian officials expect to detect a small number of cases over the next 10 years as Canada progresses toward its goal of eliminating the disease from the national cattle heard.
It is not unexpected to find BSE-infected animals born after the feed ban. This has proven to be the case in most other countries with targeted surveillance programs, similar to that in Canada.
Call for ID. The latest case renewed calls by the U.S. cattle group, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, for Canadian cattle to be permanently identified through slaughter.
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