The World Organisation for Animal Health, the OIE, has confirmed a case of atypical BSE in an 18-year-old cow in Ireland.
A preliminary positive result was obtained on 14 January, since confirmed by laboratory testing.
Ireland’s Department of Agriculture reported the cow, located in the country of Galway, had not entered the food chain, meaning there was no risk to human health.
The suspect animal was sampled at a knackery as part of Ireland’s ongoing official sampling of all downer animals aged 48 months or older. Two other cohort animals were also destroyed, and were tested negative.
Authorities were able to trace the animal’s history, from its birth in Country Cork, to the herd in Galway where it spent the rest of its life.
The latest case of atypical BSE does not have any impact on Ireland’s current OIE BSE ‘controlled risk’ status, or trade access, the OIE indicated in a report. Ireland is one of the largest beef exporters within the EU group of countries.
There are two types of BSE currently recognised – classical and a-typical. Classical BSE is associated with the (now banned) feeding of meat-and-bone meal, and evidence shows that BSE is acquired in the first year of life, while atypical BSE is thought to occur spontaneously in older animals at a much lower incidence rate.
There have been three confirmed atypical cases of BSE in Ireland, compared to 145 cases of classical BSE over the last 13 years. There have also been two cases of atypical BSE identified in Brazil and three in the US.