The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Friday, May 19, that an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as the mad cow disease, has been detected in South Carolina (SC) – the seventh detection of BSE in the United States since 2003.
“This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply or to human health in the United States. Given the United States’ negligible risk status for BSE, we do not expect any trade impacts as a result of this finding,” the federal agency said in a statement.
According to SC’s leading public research institution, Clemson University, the cow was from Tennessee and tested positive for atypical BSE.
The animal was euthanized after showing symptoms of the disease upon arrival at the plant in SC. Samples were sent to a National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) lab for testing and returned suspect for BSE. The samples were then sent to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) where they were confirmed positive for atypical L-type BSE.
Atypical BSE generally occurs in older cattle and seems to arise rarely and spontaneously in all cattle populations.