Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Mad cow disease reported in Scotland

Mad cow disease reported in Scotland

The Australian Government locked out the importation of British beef and beef products after the disease was linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in 1996.

Scotland's government said on Thursday that it has detected a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, on a farm in Aberdeenshire in eastern Scotland, the BBC first reported.

Farmers' representatives and meat industry officials said that it was an "isolated incident" and that although it was "disappointing" the case would not harm the £3 billion-a-year beef industry.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary, said he had activated a government response plan to protect Scotland's farming industry.

"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.

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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".

However, any farmer with concerns is advised to seek immediate veterinary advice.

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The case was identified as a result of strict control measures in place and did not enter the human food chain - with Food Standards Scotland confirming there is no risk to human health as a result of the isolated case.

He said: "While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the disease's origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working".

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

The disease, which is fatal to cattle, has been discovered on a farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, BSE can be divided into Classical BSE and Atypical BSE.

It adds that the infectious agent - a prion (an abnormal form of a protein) - which causes BSE in cattle, "can be transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated meat".

"With effective surveillance, countries without conventional BSE can detect odd cases of atypical BSE, and atypical cases in the United Kingdom must be expected".

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