A case of mad cow disease has been found in a dairy cow in Alberta, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed to CBC News on Friday.
The agency said the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a fatal brain disease, was found on Feb. 18 in a six-year-old dairy cow. The CFIA didn’t plan on making the case public until March 10, even though information about the infected cow was common knowledge in the industry for two weeks, according to The Canadian Press.
The cow has been destroyed, and no part of its carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.
Canada is a controlled BSE risk country, CFIA spokeswoman Alice d’Anjou said, meaning a confirmed case of mad cow disease shouldn’t have an impact on the export of cattle or beef.
“The detection of a small number of additional BSE cases is fully expected as Canada continues progression to the eradication of the disease,” the CFIA said in a statement.
To apply for negligible risk status, a country has to have no cases for 11 years after the birth year of the youngest animal diagnosed.
John Masswohl, of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said the new case should not hurt Canada’s global beef trade. He said Canada can still apply for negligible risk status in 2015.
A full investigation under international BSE guidelines has begun. The animal’s birth farm has been identified, and the CFIA said the age and location of the infected animal were consistent with previous cases of BSE found in Canada.
The farm where the dairy cow was found is under quarantine as officials test the feed and other animals in the herd for the disease.
Dr. Gerald Hauer, Alberta’s chief veterinarian, said any animals that were born on the farm or shared the same feed as the infected cow will be destroyed.
“Public health was clearly protected here. There is no risk from this cow. It is extremely unlikely that you would get a second case on the farm,” Hauer said.
The case will also be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health.
There were four confirmed cases of BSE in Canada in 2008, one in 2009 and one in 2010.
The latest case is Canada’s 18th since 2003.
CBC – Fri, 4 Mar, 2011 3:38 PM EST