'Mad Cow Disease' Confirmed At Farm In Aberdeenshire

Maricruz Casares
Octubre 19, 2018

A case of BSE, or so-called "mad cow disease", has been identified at a farm in Scotland, a decade since it was last confirmed.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's farming minister, said: I have activated the Scottish government's response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm.

Officials also stressed that consumers should not yet be anxious by the case because the disease did not enter the human food chain.

It can be passed on to humans in the food chain, causing a fatal condition called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer, Sheila Voas, said that "it was too early to tell where the disease came from", but urged any farmers with concerns to immediately come forward and seek advice.

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland said: "There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity".

More than 180,000 cattle were infected in the United Kingdom and 4.4 million slaughtered during an eradication program in the 1990s.

"The Animal Health Agency (APHA) is investigating the source of the outbreak".

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It is believed to be "isolated", and was discovered after routine tests that take place after an animal dies on a farm.

More than 180,000 cattle were thought to have been struck down by the disease and the European Union put a ban on importing British beef between 1996 and 2006.

China only lifted its embargo on importing British beef in June this year.

The real impact of this case will be that Scotland is nearly certain to lose its status as an area with negligible BSE risk, which could affect whether importers buy British beef.

Scotland has been BSE free since 2009. "Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place".

In the 1980s and 1990s, Britain suffered an epidemic of mad cow disease that killed several people and led to widespread export bans on beef.

Professor Matthew Baylis, chair of veterinary epidemiology at Liverpool University, said one case was detected in Britain in 2014 and two in 2015.

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