South Carolina confirms atypical case of BSE; health officials say not to worry

Atypical BSE generally occurs in older cattle and is not contagious. It also poses no risk to human health.

USDA says it does not expect any trade impact after a case of atypical BSE was found in a herd in the United States.

Workers at a packing company in South Carolina noticed a cow that appeared unwell upon arrival. That animal was isolated and euthanized. It did not make it into the food supply. The cow originated from a facility in southeast Tennessee, and state officials are tracking down the prior owner as well as any siblings or offspring for testing.

“We are working closely with our federal partners and animal health officials in South Carolina for this response,” Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “That includes determining prior owners and locations where the affected cow lived in Tennessee and tracing siblings and offspring for testing.”

Atypical BSE is a chronic degenerative disease caused by an abnormal prion protein that affects the animal’s central nervous system. Atypical BSE generally occurs in older cattle and is not contagious. It also poses no risk to human health. It is different from classical BSE, which has not been detected in the US since 2003.

In a release, the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture said: “Cattle owners are always advised to monitor their herds for health. The Cattle affected by BSE may display changes in temperament, abnormal posture, poor coordination, decreased milk production, or loss of condition without noticeable loss of appetite. Owners should report any herd health concerns to their veterinarian or to the State Veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120.

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