An atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also commonly known as mad cow disease, has been detected in South Carolina, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Friday.
The disease was found in an approximately 5-year-old or older beef cow at a slaughter plant in the Palmetto State.
The cow was from Tennessee and tested positive for atypical BSE, Clemson University stated.
Michael Neault, director of Clemson Unversity Livestock Poultry Health and South Carolina state veterinarian, said that this is an “isolated case.”
He praised the system in place to prevent BSE from endangering human and animal health as being “robust” and “successful.”
This was the seventh detection of BSE in the United States since 2003, and all but one have been atypical.
BSE Variant Could Be Deadly for HumansAccording to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), humans could get a version of BSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) if they eat food from cows sick with BSE.
As of 2019, 232 people are known to have been infected with vCJD and all of them have died. Most of the victims lived in the United Kingdom at some point in their lives. Four of them lived in the United States.
The four Americans who died after vCJD most likely were infected when they were living or traveling overseas, the agency said.
BSE and vCJD are not contagious and people will not be infected with BSE from drinking milk or eating dairy products from sick cows.
vCJD Blood Donation Ban Lifted in AustraliaAustralia lifted a ban in July 2022 and allowed people who were in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and ‘90s to donate blood in Australia, The Conversation reported.
The Australian government started the ban because of concerns that people might get vCJD from blood transfusions.
However, three researchers suggested in an article published in Vox Sanguinis that the risk is “tiny.”
“Our modeling suggests that removing the Lifeblood donation deferral for travel to, or UK residence, would result in virtually no increased risk of vCJD transfusion-transmission and would be a safe and effective strategy for increasing the donor base,” the researchers concluded.
The FDA also made a similar recommendation in May 2022.