Two More US Herds
Quarantined Over Mad Cow

By Randy Fabi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two more herds in Washington state were quarantined over the weekend, as the number of cattle linked to a cow infected with mad cow disease increased, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Tuesday.
For several weeks, USDA investigators have been searching for some 81 cattle that were the herdmates of a Holstein cow found infected with the disease last month. The animals were shipped to the United States from a Canadian dairy farm in September 2001.
Investigators want to find the infected cow's herdmates, since they might have shared the same source of feed during the three or four years after birth. Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is believed to be spread through contaminated feed.
A total of six American herds have been quarantined since the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was announced on Dec. 23 in Mabton, Washington.
The USDA said its newest information showed at least three herdmates of the infected cow were sent to a dairy farm in Tenino, Washington and at least six went to a farm in Connell, Washington. That means investigators have found 23 of the 81 Canadian cattle they sought, a USDA spokeswoman said.
However, the total number of Canadian animals the USDA is trying to track increased to 98 on Monday after officials said they confirmed a second group of cattle had been imported from the same Alberta farm where the infected cow was born. The second group came to the United States at a later time, but the USDA has not yet identified the specific date.
DNA tests have confirmed that the infected cow was born in Alberta, Canada, more than six years ago. The farm where the animal was born went out of business in 2001 and sold off the herd in several transactions.
Of the second group of imported cattle, three were found at a farm in Quincy, Washington, which is already under quarantine, the USDA spokeswoman said. Investigators are still trying to locate the remaining 14 cattle that were part of the second group shipped across the border.
The USDA said it completed on Monday the killing of 129 animals from the quarantined herd in Mabton. So far, 30 animals have been tested for mad cow disease and found free of it.
Earlier this month, investigators destroyed some 450 bull calves at a quarantined herd in Sunnyside, Washington. None were tested for mad cow disease due to their young age.
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