UK reports first mad cow disease case in 2 years

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The Scottish government on Friday confirmed a case of classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease, at a farm in the southwest of the country, the first British case of the disease in over two years.

The government has imposed precautionary movement restrictions at impacted premises and on animals that have been in contact with the case in Ayrshire, it said in a statement.

Further investigations to identify the origin of the disease at the farm are ongoing, the Scottish government statement said, adding there was no risk to human health.

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An organically-raised cow sticks her head out of a barn March 1, 2001 on an organic farm in Arnbruck, Germany.

The United Kingdom’s first case of mad cow disease in two years was confirmed on May 10, 2024.  (Sean Gallup)

“I want to reassure both farmers and the public that the risk associated with this isolated case is minimal. But, if any farmers are concerned, I would urge them to seek veterinary advice,” Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said.

BSE was first detected in Britain in the late 1980s, spreading from there to other parts of Europe and ravaging cattle herds until the early 2000s. It has been linked to the brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.



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