WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – GLENN VAAGEN – Ask USDA chief veterinarian Jack Shere, and he’ll tell you the recent case of atypical form of BSE found in a Florida cow shows things are working.
“We have one of the best surveillance systems in the world for this disease. And we go well beyond what OIE (the world Organization of Animal Health) has asked us to do as far as looking for this; and we have listed as negligible risk because, BSE has never been found in this country from a domestic origin animal, other than the atypical.”
In 2003 a case of classical BSE was reported in Central Washington. The disease was found in a cow imported from Canada. Following that scare, Shere said the U.S. really stepped up detection efforts.
“We sample all neurological cases that are reported to us. And animal that appear to have what I would call any type of staggering, or any types of lameness when they are presented at slaughter, any of those animals that die mysteriously on the farm, we sample all of those animals.”
Again, USDA officials stress the recently detected case of BSE was atypical and should not alarm the general public.