Mad cow disease confirmed in Scotland

Henrietta Strickland
October 19, 2018

All animals over four years of age that die on a farm are routinely tested for BSE under the Scottish government's comprehensive surveillance system.

Though officials are not sure where the case of BSE on the Aberdeenshire farm originated from, "its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job", Sheila Voas, Scotland's chief veterinary officer, added.

"We are working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer this question".

A spokesman said it was standard procedure for a confirmed case of classical BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), which does not represent a threat to human health.

A case of BSE - commonly dubbed "mad cow disease" - has been found on a Scottish farm, though the isolated case posed no risk to human health, the devolved government in Edinburgh said Thursday (Oct 18).

The disease has been reduced to a handful of cases each year in the United Kingdom, with the last recorded case in Wales in 2015. The disease also affects the animal's coordination, causing trembling or stumbling, according to The Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University.

BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, was first recognised in 1986 and peaked in the United Kingdom in 1992, when more than 37,000 cases were recorded nationally.

"The BSE outbreak in the late [1980s] had a devastating impact on the United Kingdom cattle industry, yet it provided some extremely valuable insights into how to deal with future disease issues", she said.

It has been linked to a fatal, brain-wasting disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which is transmitted by eating contaminated meat from affected cattle.

This latest case, the first since 2009 in Scotland, will mean the nation is stripped of that rank...

Strict controls were introduced to protect consumers after the link was established in 1996.

"It is described as "classical BSE", like the vast majority of cases we have seen in the UK".

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland reassured consumers that important protection measures are in place.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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