Pa. vet lab certified for BSE analysis

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg has been approved to perform bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) sample analysis and will receive federal funding on a per test basis.

“Since Pennsylvania houses more slaughter plants than any other state in the country, we needed to have the ability to test for BSE at our state laboratory,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.

No more long delays. “By having a testing mechanism in Pennsylvania, we hope to eliminate the long delays in sample processing and increase the number of livestock farms participating in BSE testing.

“This certification will greatly enhance Pennsylvania’s ability to maximize surveillance of non-ambulatory cattle.”

State needs. Pennsylvania has as many as 25,000 non-ambulatory animals that will need to be tested under the USDA’s new BSE surveillance requirements.

The lab will use the USDA’s approved rapid test for BSE surveillance.

Confirmatory testing will be conducted at the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

Surveillance. On March 15, USDA announced an enhanced BSE surveillance program.

The new program, which should be fully implemented by June 1, will sample non-ambulatory cattle, cattle exhibiting signs of a central nervous system disorder, cattle exhibiting other signs associated with BSE and dead cattle.

USDA intends to sample as many as 268,000 animals in a 12-18 month period as part of the program.

For information about USDA’s BSE surveillance program, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse.html.

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