Published Date: 2003-05-20 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> BSE, bovine - Canada (Alberta): confirmed
Archive Number: 20030520.1241
BSE, BOVINE - CANADA (ALBERTA): CONFIRMED
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 20 May 2003
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Associated Press [edited]
A cow in Alberta has been diagnosed with mad cow disease, Canadian officials
announced Tuesday -- the first known case in
North America in a decade. [The previous case was imported into Canada from
the U.K. in 1987 -- see 1996 ref. at end. The water buffaloes imported into
Canada from Denmark in 2000 -- see ref. at end -- were apparently never
confirmed to have BSE. - Mod PC/JW]
U.S. health officials immediately banned imports of cattle, beef, beef-based
products and animal feed from Canada. [In fact, not just cattle but all
ruminants & ruminant products have been banned -- see  below. - Mod.JW]
Canadian Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief told a news conference Tuesday
at the Alberta provincial legislature in Edmonton that the 8-year-old cow
from a farm in northern Alberta was slaughtered on 31 Jan 2003 because of
suspected pneumonia. "The herd has been quarantined. A trace on the animal
is being done," he said. "The animal did not go into the food chain."
[This, of course, is the key question to understanding how many cows are
likely to be involved. - Mod. PC]
No case of mad cow disease has ever been found in U.S. cattle, despite
intensive testing for the disease. To help prevent its spread here, the U.S
government routinely bans the import of meat and livestock from countries
where mad cow disease is found.
Mad cow disease, known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or
BSE, first erupted in Britain in 1986, and is thought to have spread through
cow feed made with protein and bone meal from mammals.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease [CJD] is the human form of mad cow disease and can
cause paralysis and death. Humans develop new variant CJD when they eat meat
from infected animals, scientists believe. [The circumstantial evidence is
compelling, but it has not been proven scientifically. - Mod PC/JW]
Both Canada and the United States outlawed the feeding of mammalian meat
and bone meal to cattle, sheep and goats in 1997, a rule considered each
nation's main defense against the disease. The incubation period for BSE can
be 8 years, so the new Canadian case could have been infected from feed
[before the ban entered into force].
The only previous known case in Canada, in 1993, involved an animal born in
Britain that was imported, Vanclief said [see 1996 ref. at end. - Mod.JW].
The herd was destroyed and there was no further spread of the disease, he
It was not immediately clear where the cow in the new case was born.
Authorities will trace the origin of the cow and how and where it was
[infected] as part of an investigation into any possible spread of the
disease, Vanclief said. They have also quarantined the farm and will
"depopulate" the herd that the new case is from, along with any other herds
that come into question.
Alberta is Canada's main cattle province, with almost 40 percent of the
industry. Last year, Canada exported 1.7 million head of live cattle and 373
000 tons of beef product with a total value of $2.5 billion to the United
Canada has voluntarily halted issuing certificates for its cattle declaring
them free of BSE, said officials who stressed it was an isolated case
involving one cow of a disease that does not spread between live animals.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said in a statement that she spoke
with Canadian officials and the situation "appears to be an isolated case.
Information suggests that risk to human health and the possibility of
transmission to animals in the United States is very low."
The FDA & U.S. Agriculture Department are working with Canadian officials to
get more information about the sick cow, including records concerning its
past ownership and what animal feed it was given.
[Thanks to the many ProMED readers who sent in news reports of this. For
additional reports on the situation, see
<http://www.agriculture.com/worldwide/> - Mod.JW/DH]
Date: 20 May 2002
From: Thomas E. Walton <Thomas.E.Walton@usda.gov>
Source: Official APHIS release
Subject: Emergency Management Warning 1:
Bovine Spongiform Encephalophathy Confirmed in Canada
The following statement was made by Secretary of Agriculture Ann
Veneman regarding Canada's Confirmation of Bovine Spongiform
Release No. 0166.03
STATEMENT by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman
Regarding Canada's Announcement of BSE Investigation
May 20, 2003
I have spoken with Canada's Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister
Lyle Vanclief a short time ago about Canada's investigation and feel
that all appropriate measures are being taken in what appears to be an
isolated case of bovine spongiform encephalophathy. Information
suggests that risk to human health and the possibility of transmission to
animals in the United States is very low.
USDA is placing Canada under its BSE restriction guidelines and
will not accept any ruminants or ruminant products from Canada pending
further investigation. We are dispatching a technical team to Canada to
assist in the investigation and will provide more detailed information
as it becomes available.
The United States remains diligent in its BSE surveillance and prevention
efforts. In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration
prohibited the use of most mammalian protein in the manufacture of animal
feed intended for cows and other ruminants to stop the way the disease is
thought to spread.
Since 1989, the U.S. government has taken a series of preventive
actions to protect against this animal disease. This includes USDA
prohibitions on the import of live ruminants, such as cattle, sheep,
goats and most ruminant products from countries that have, or are
considered to be at risk for having, BSE.
In fiscal year 2002, USDA tested 19 990 cattle for BSE using a
targeted surveillance approach designed to test the highest risk
animals, including downer animals (animals that are non-ambulatory at
slaughter), animals that die on the farm, older animals and animals
exhibiting signs of neurological distress.
The following link is to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's BSE
The following link is to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's press
release regarding the confirmation of BSE.
Please forward this information to your federal, State, and industry
counterparts as necessary.
If you have any questions about this situation, please feel free to
call USDA, APHIS, VS, Emergency Programs at 800-940-6524, 301-734-8073,
or e-mail at EMOC@APHIS.USDA.GOV.