Germany Finds Its First Two
Home-Grown Cases Of Mad Cow
BERLIN (AFP) - Germany has discovered its first two cases of mad cow disease among German-born cattle, a spokesman at the agriculture ministry said Friday, shattering its belief that the country was free of the problem.
One animal was found in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, which is a major agricultural center. It had been born there in 1996.
The second infected cow of German origin was identified on the Azores islands Friday, authorities reported. Thousands of animals are now to be slaughtered on the Portugese archipelago.
The diseased animal had been imported from Germany to the island of Sao Miguel in 1998. It was unclear where that cow contracted the disease.
Germany had traced six cases of mad cow disease from 1994-97 but the infected animals had been imported, five from Britain and one from Switzerland, and already sick when they were bought.
But officials had recently said they though the country was free of the disease, which can spread to humans.
The government said Friday that it aimed introduce a blanket ban on all feed containing animal products "as soon as possible", potentially as soon as Monday, out of fears that the use of meat and bone meal is contributing to the spread of mad cow disease.
Separately, newspapers had reported earlier that Germany has possibly detected its first cases of the disease in humans, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
The Tagesspiegel newspaper said a 22-year-old living near the southern city of Munich had shown the telltale symptoms of the disease, including severe depression and uncontrollable shaking, but a definitive diagnosis had not yet been made.
Another 40-year-old patient had been hospitalized in the central town of Bad Homburg with an illness doctors suspect may be vCJD.
Bild newspaper also referred to a patient suffering from similar symptoms in Bad Homburg, saying he was 60 years old and in a critical condition.
In the wake of public health concerns, 80 percent of Germans said they supported a ban on beef imports from France and Britain due to the new reports of BSE there, according to a survey by television news channel N24 released Friday.
Only 16 percent of respondents said they still wanted to buy beef from those countries.

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