Mad Cow Disease (cont.)
BSE Cases Identified in the United States
There have been 3 cases of BSE identified in the United States. The following
information provides descriptions of these three cases:
- On December 23, 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a
presumptive diagnosis of the first known case of BSE in the United States. It
was in an adult Holstein cow from Washington State. This diagnosis was confirmed
by an international reference laboratory in Weybridge, England, on December 25.
Trace-back based on an ear-tag identification number and subsequent genetic
testing confirmed that the BSE-infected cow was imported into the United States
from Canada in August 2001. Because the animal was non-ambulatory (a "downer
cow") at slaughter, brain tissue samples were taken by USDA's Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service as part of its targeted surveillance for BSE. However
the animal's condition was attributed to complications from calving. After the
animal was examined by a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
veterinary medical officer both before and after slaughter, the carcass was
released for use as food for human consumption. During slaughter, the tissues
considered to be at high risk for the transmission of the BSE agent were
removed. On December 24, 2003, FSIS recalled beef from cattle slaughtered in the
same plant on the same day as the BSE positive cow.
- On June 24, 2005, the
USDA announced receipt of final results from The Veterinary Laboratories Agency
in Weybridge, England, confirming BSE in a cow that had conflicting test results
in 2004. This cow was from Texas, died at approximately 12 years of age, and
represented the first endemic case of BSE in the United States.
- On March
15, 2006, the USDA announced the confirmation of BSE in a cow in Alabama. The
case was identified in a non-ambulatory (downer) cow on a farm in Alabama. The
animal was euthanized by a local veterinarian and buried on the farm. The age of
the cow was estimated by examination of the dentition as 10-years-old. It had no
ear tags or distinctive marks; the herd of origin could not be identified
despite an intense investigation (see second featured item above and Alabama BSE
Investigation, Final Epidemiology Report, May 2006 ). In August 2008, several
ARS investigators reported that a rare, genetic abnormality that may persist
within the cattle population "is considered to have caused" BSE in this atypical
(H-type) BSE animal from Alabama.
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Mad Cow Disease - Experience
Question: Please describe your experience with mad cow disease (BSE).