‘Mad Cow Disease’ Confirmed On Farm In Scotland

October 18, 2018 Updated: October 18, 2018

A case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)—commonly known as mad cow disease—has been confirmed at a farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

A quarantine area has been put in place around the farm while inspectors try to identify the origin of the disease.

The government said the case posed no harm to humans.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said a movement ban was now in place on the unnamed farm.

“I have activated the Scottish government’s response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm,” Ewing said, in a statement by Scottish authorities.

BSE Monitoring System ‘Doing Its Job’

This is the first outbreak of mad cow disease in Scotland in 10 years.

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job.”

“We are working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer this question, and in the meantime, I would urge any farmer who has concerns to immediately seek veterinary advice,” said Voas in the statement.

Voas said the infection did not enter the human food chain and Food Standards Scotland have confirmed the “isolated case” posed no risk to human health

The BSE virus is fatal in cattle and may be passed to humans who eat infected meat.

‘Strict Controls’ In Place

In humans, the virus can cause a fatal condition called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), and strict controls have been applied in BSE outbreaks to protect the public.

Ewing said, “While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the disease’s origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working.

“Be assured that the Scottish Government and its partners stand ready to respond to any further confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland.”

Ian McWatt, director of operations at Food Standards Scotland, said strict controls protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity.

“Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place and that Food Standards Scotland official veterinarians and meat hygiene inspectors working in all abattoirs in Scotland will continue to ensure that in respect of BSE controls, the safety of consumers remains a priority,” McWatt said in the statement from the Scottish government.

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