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Netherlands cow found to have BSE

On a farm in the Netherlands, a beef cow was found to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). There are currently investigations going on to find out if it is a harmless or infectious variant.

The country’s minister of agriculture, nature, and food quality, Piet Adema, told the news today [Wednesday, February 1]. In a letter to Parliament, he said that the animal’s meat has not entered the food chain and does not threaten food safety.

The disease was found on a farm in the province of South Holland when a dead beef cow was under “active surveillance.” No more information was given about when and why the outbreak was found. Because of what they found, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) shut down the farm. No animals or manure could be taken away.
Atypical version or typical version?

The body of the infected animal is being studied by Wageningen BioVeterinary Research in order to learn more about the disease’s variant. The so-called “atypical variant” was found for the last time in the Netherlands in 2011. It could happen on its own as a result of getting older. The “classic” type, on the other hand, is caused by eating contaminated feed.

The infected animal’s offspring and animals that ate the same food or grew up with the same animal will be killed anyway. All of these dead bodies will also be looked at.

If the research shows that the variant is “atypical,” then the case will be closed and the country’s BSE status won’t change. If the case turns out to be a classic case, more steps will be taken to make sure the food is safe. Most of the time, BSE doesn’t show up until 2–5 years after contaminated feed.

Since 1997, there have been a total of 88 cases of BSE in cattle in the Netherlands, and two of them were “atypical.” At the time, reusing animal proteins in animal feed was likely a major reason for the spread of classical BSE in cattle. After this, Europe banned the use of animal meal in cattle feed.

In Europe, the disease is rare these days. Cases were recently reported in Germany (2022), the United Kingdom (2022), Spain (2021), Ireland (2020), and Switzerland (2020).

Cattle with BSE have problems with their central nervous system, which is why it is also called “mad cow disease.” Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a brain disease that kills people, can be caused by this disease.

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