- TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese
authorities said on Saturday they believed they had discovered the
third case of mad cow disease but would await the findings of an expert
panel on Sunday before making a final determination.
- The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry said a Holstein
dairy cow slaughtered in the city of Saitama, north of Tokyo, had tested
positive in two tests for the brain-wasting disorder, formally known as
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
- Scientists believe that eating beef infected with BSE
can infect humans with a variant of the illness, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
(CJD), a fatal brain affliction.
- In Europe, CJD has killed about 100 people. No one has
died or fallen sick since Japan's first case -- the first outside Europe
-- was reported on September 22, but beef sales in the country have fallen
about 50 percent since then.
- The cow in the latest case was slaughtered on Thursday
for meat consumption.
- Health authorities have ordered a quarantine of all other
cows on the farm where the cow was raised, Kyodo News reported.
- All cattle slaughtered in Japan have been tested for
the disease since October 18.
- It is not known how the cows became infected but
have linked the disease to meat-and-bone meal, a protein cattle feed made
from the crushed internal organs, skin and bones of cows and other
- Agriculture Minister Tsutomu Takebe said on Friday it
may take a long time for authorities to find the source of the
- "After seeing results of investigations conducted
in Europe and other areas since the outbreak of mad cow disease in Japan,
I cannot say confidently that there are no problems in how we are dealing
with the situation," Takebe said.
- Japan's first mad cow case was discovered on a farm in
Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. The second, confirmed on November 21,
was discovered on the northern island of Hokkaido.
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