- (Reuters) -- Estonian authorities have
detected mad cow disease in a dead 11 year old cow after a routine test
at a slaughterhouse, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday [24 Apr 2006].
If confirmed, it would be the country's 1st case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE), a disease that destroys the brains of cattle.
- "The rapid test needs to be confirmed
with a positive test for BSE and the results from that test will be out
on Wednesday," Ago Partel, director of the Veterinary and Food Authority,
told Reuters. The cow was from a farm in Jogevamaa county, south eastern
Estonia, the Agriculture Ministry Press office said. [See Jogeva in the
map at http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/estonia.pdf].
- BSE was discovered in Britain in 1986
and devastated the country's beef industry. Individual cases of BSE have
recently been found in cows in Japan, Canada, and the United States. More
than 160 people have died from the human form of the disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease, believed to be contracted by eating meat from infected cattle.
- The discovery of a BSE case in Estonia
should not be surprising; in fact, it was anticipated according to the
Opinion of EU's Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) on the GBR (Geographical
Risk of BSE) in Estonia. The said opinion, adopted by the SSC on 10 Apr
2003, includes the following statement:
- "The BSE-agent may have reached
the territory of Estonia before its independence in 1991. Since 1995 significant
amounts of MBM were imported from BSE risk countries. A significant risk
that BSE infectivity entered processing therefore exists since some years,
at the latest since 2000, when domestic cattle potentially exposed to contaminated
imported MBM around 1995, could have entered processing while approaching
the end of the incubation period. Given the instability of the system,
this could have lead to BSE cases.
- "It is concluded that it is likely
but not confirmed that domestic cattle are (clinically or pre-clinically)
infected with the BSE-agent (GBR III)."
- Official confirmation of the case is
anticipated. If confirmed, Estonia will become the world's 26th BSE country.
The number of cases in the other 25 countries, between 1989 and 2006, may
be seen at http://oie.int/eng/info/en_esbmonde.htmn. The case in Croatia,
suspected in Feb 2006 (see 20060217.0521), remains unconfirmed. - Mod.AS
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
- Univ of West Indies
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases"
message board at:
- Also my new website:
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health