Case of atypical BSE confirmed in the U.S.

Case of atypical BSE confirmed in the U.S.
May 24, 2023

The cow was discovered in South Carolina

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The United States Department of Agriculture announced it discovered a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Atypical BSE differs from classical BSE as it’s believed to occur spontaneously in cattle populations. Classical BSE occurs in cattle after ingesting prion contaminated feed.

The five-year-old beef cow was discovered at a processing facility in South Carolina.

The animal came from a herd in Tennessee and showed signs of the disease upon arrival at the plant. The animal was then euthanized, Clemson University says.

Signs and symptoms of BSE include “changes in temperament, abnormal posture, incoordination and difficulty in rising, decreased milk production, or loss of condition without noticeable loss of appetite,” the USDA says.

The animal in question was euthanized before it had a chance to enter the food system.

“This animal never entered (processing) channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply or to human health in the United States,” the USDA said in a May 19 statement.

This quick discovery and action related to the sick cow shows the U.S. has an excellent inspection system, said Justin Tupper, president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

“USCA is grateful to the nationwide team of veterinarians, animal health officials, meat inspectors, and others who ensure the wellbeing of the U.S. cattle herd and the safety of our food supply,” he said in a statement. “The swift detection of this case proves that the systems and protocols we have put in place are working.”

This case of BSE is the seventh in U.S. history.

The other six came from Washington, Texas, California, Florida and two from Alabama.

USDA doesn’t anticipate any trade disruptions because of this discovery.

The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) recognizes the U.S. as negligible risk for BSE. And WOAH guidelines indicate atypical BSE cases don’t impact risk status recognition.

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