Slovenia Confirms First Case
Of Mad Cow Disease

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - The Slovenian Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday a Swiss laboratory had confirmed Slovenia's first case of mad cow disease.
The case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was first detected two weeks ago in a five-year-old cow bred at a small farm in the Gornji Grad municipality in north-eastern Slovenia.
The ministry said the outbreak was isolated and there was no danger of the disease spreading, adding that the country had spent over 5.5 billion tolars ($22 million) on BSE testing.
``All necessary measures have been in force since the first suspicion of BSE was raised,'' agriculture ministry spokesman Jakob Stunf told Reuters.
When suspicions were first raised, Bosnia and neighbouring Croatia immediately banned imports of meat and livestock from Slovenia, an Alpine nation of two million people that also borders on Austria, Italy and Hungary.
In line with European Union regulations, Slovenia--which hopes to join the EU in 2004--has introduced tests on all animals older than 30 months and has banned the use of meat and bone meal in animal feed.
BSE has spread in herds in Britain, France and other west European countries, Japan and in the Czech and Slovak republics.

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