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BSE in Califormia in April was isolated but likely not unique

06 August 2012
Technical news (commented)
BSE in USA
Tags: TSE, USA
Source: FDA

A final investigation summary into the Californian case of BSE in April this year has been published by FDA.

 

The report concludes that "compliance with BSE feed regulations was excellent" and that "none of the facilities had used prohibited material in their feed manufacturing during the entire period of interest". The cow, obviously, was not infected through feed, but developed the disease from a 'spontaneous mutation'.

 

As this is certainly good news regarding the effectiveness of the feed ban system in the US, the fact that this cow had atypical BSE makes it more likely, not less, that there are more cases like this one in the US dairy herd. If a spontaneous mutation can develop once, it can develop several times. The relevance of atypical BSE for public health is unclear at this time, but there are  indications that L-type atypical BSE, as diagnosed in the Californian cow, is transmissible to primates. The question then is how reliably such cases can be detected by the US surveillance system. The April case was detected in the course of "random testing".

 

Further reading:

FDA report

USDA/APHIS report

ProMED mail report


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