Mad Cow Update And
French BSE Projections

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
In these updates:
[1] UK - inquiry
[2] France - multi-annual incidence
[3]& [4] Switzerland - zoo zebu
[1] UK - inquiry
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004
From: ProMED-mail<
Source:, 1 Jul 2004 [edited]
BSE Inquiry
The British Food Standards Agency has appointed an independent steering group to oversee an inquiry into recent failures to test some cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Earlier in June 2004, the FSA announced an investigation into an apparent failure by the Meat Hygiene Service to test some casualty cattle aged between 24 and 30 months for BSE before they entered the food chain.
Although the testing is required for surveillance purposes and not as a public health protection measure, the FSA chair and board requested that a full independent inquiry be carried out into the reasons for this as quickly as possible.
The steering group has been set up to oversee this inquiry and to establish why these failures were not identified earlier. The chairman of the group is Dr Patrick Wall, who is both a medical doctor and a veterinarian. He is a professor of Food Safety in the Center for Food Safety in University College, Dublin, Ireland, and the former chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. He is also a member of the management board of the European Food Safety Authority.
Wall will be joined by veterinarian Peter Jinman, a former president of the British Veterinary Association and a member of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee. He has 25 years of experience of handling agricultural veterinary issues and is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. The 3rd member of the group, Barbara Saunders, works as a consultant in consumer affairs. She also served on the former FSA's Food Advisory Committee. Independent expert auditors PKF will complete the investigation on behalf of the steering group. Veterinary advice will be made available to them.
Following their inquiry, the group will make recommendations on how best to minimise the risk of this problem recurring. It is due to report back to the FSA Board by the end of September. The findings will be published afterwards. Casualty cattle are animals subject to special emergency slaughter, because of an accident or other serious condition, or found sick or to have an abnormality at antemortem inspection.
[2] France - multi-annual incidence
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004
From: ProMED-mail<
Source:, 1 Jul 2004 [edited]
BSE study in France
More than 300 000 cattle in France may have been infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) since the disease first appeared in the 1980s, according to an article in the scientific publication Veterinary Research and reported in the French newspaper Figaro. Since the disease was first discovered in France in 1991, to date 923 cases have been officially reported.
The French researchers -- Virginie Supervie and Dominique Costaglio -- concluded that, between 1980 and June 2000, a total of 301 200 bovines were infected with BSE in France. They based their conclusion on the amount of meat and bone meal from the United Kingdom used in France during the 1980s, and the fact that most cattle are infected with the disease between the ages of 6 to 12 months. The majority of beef cattle in France are slaughtered before 24 months of age. The infected animals would have been killed before the disease could have shown itself, because of BSE's long incubation period.
In 1990, France banned the use of meat and bone meal in cattle feed. The law was modified in 1996 and 2000 to ban it from being fed to all ruminant feeds. The researchers said that because a large amount of British meat and bone used in France before the ban, it is reasonable to assume that the disease was more widespread in the national herd during the 1980s than first believed.
[3] Switzerland - zoo zebu
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004
From: ProMED-mail <
Source: Office International des Epizooties (OIE) Disease Information 2004;
17(27) 2 Jul [edited]
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Switzerland in a zoo zebu
[The regular-sized zebu is a type of Asiatic ox that has a fleshy hump, floppy ears, a loose dewlap, and is highly resistant to the effects of heat and insect attack. Ref: Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary]
This emergency report is based on nformation received on (and dated) 2 Jul 2004 from Dr Hans Wyss, director of the Federal Veterinary Office, Bern:
The animal health incident was first detected on 7 Apr 2004. The estimated date of primary infection is unknown. The nature of the diagnosis has been determined by clinical, postmortem, and laboratory evidence.
Location / No. of outbreaks
Basel / 1 (zoological garden)
Description of affected population: a dwarf zebu (_Bos primigenius
indicus_), male, born on 24 Jun 1985.
Total number of animals in the outbreak:
species/ susceptible/ cases/ deaths/ destroyed/ slaughtered
bov / 5 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0
The diagnosis was made at the Institute of Animal Neurology, University of Bern (OIE Reference Laboratory for bovine spongiform encephalopathy)using histology; immunohistochemistry; ELISA (2 different kits); and western blot. All tests gave positive results.
Source of agent / origin of infection: probably feed with meat-and-bone meal.
Control measures: movement restrictions.
[4] Switzerland - zoo zebu
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004
From: ProMED-mail <
Source: Toronto Star, 2 Jul 2004 [edited]
Mad cow disease case in a dwarf zebu
Swiss veterinarians said today that they have discovered the world's first case of BSE in a dwarf zebu. The disease was found in an 18 year old male dwarf zebu at a zoo in the northern city of Basel after the animal began slipping and running into obstacles with its horns, the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office said.
The diagnosis was confirmed in an examination of the zebu's brain after the animal was put down in April. BSE is linked to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a similar fatal brain-wasting condition found in humans.
While regular zebus are a type of domesticated cattle found throughout Asia and Africa, the dwarf zebu is a distinct species. The Swiss veterinarians said it was not clear how the animal became infected. The disease was first detected in domestic cattle in Switzerland in the 1990s, and the last reported case in cattle was in December 2003.
But "until now there was no evidence that (dwarf) zebus could be affected by BSE," the statement said. Although there has never been a BSE case reported in a dwarf zebu before, British zoos have found the disease in other bovines, including kudus, bison, elands, and nyalas. No case has ever been reported in the wild.
[According to the OIE data, the current list of bovidae susceptible to BSE
-- to which the dwarf zebu [_Bos primigenius indicus_] should now be added
-- includes: domestic cattle, nyala [_Tragelaphus angasi_], greater kudu
[_Tragelaphus strepsiceros_] and presumed similar origin for cases in
gemsbok [_Oryx gazella_], Arabian oryx [_Oryx leucoryx_], eland
[_Taurotragus oryx_], scimitar-horned oryx [_Oryx dammah_] and bison
[_Bison bison_]).
It would be interesting to note when this old animal was last exposed to contaminated feed.
Switzerland reported in November 1990 the first BSE case on the European mainland which could not be attributed to an animal imported from Great Britain. According to the official Swiss data, the infection was presumably due to feed constituents that had been inadequately heated; material which originated from Britain was most probably given new origin labelling and then imported via an indirect route, as according to the Swiss foreign trade statistics, only very small quantities of meat-and-bone meal were imported directly from Great Britain.
Since 1990, 453 BSE cases have been recorded in Switzerland in indigenous cattle. Switzerland was the first country to introduce active monitoring of BSE, in 1999; the Swiss prionic BSE test is used for the systematic testing of groups of cows at risk. The annual BSE incidence rate (number of indigenous cases per million bovines aged over 24 months) during the years 1999-2003 was 58.7, 40.6, 49.1, 27.93, and 24.86, respectively. - Mod.AS]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



This Site Served by TheHostPros