BSE probe finds no more cases in index herd

Jan 21, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it has found no more cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) after testing 129 cattle from the herd that was the last home of the nation's only cow known to have the disease.

Test results were still awaited for two more cows from the Mabton, Wash., herd where the diseased cow last lived (the index herd), the USDA said in an update today. The department also was awaiting results of tests on 39 euthanized animals from a herd at Mattawa, Wash. "Selective depopulation" of those herds has been completed, officials said.

The USDA said it had traced the locations of 23 of 81 cows from the infected cow's birth herd in Alberta. The 81 cattle were all imported to the United States in September 2001 and are being traced because they could have BSE if they ate feed from the same source as the diseased cow. Besides the diseased cow, the USDA traced nine cows to the index herd, three to Tenino, Wash.; six to Connell, Wash.; one to Quincy, Wash., and three to Mattawa, Wash.

Another 17 heifers were dispersed from the Canadian source herd in August 2001 and were not among the 81 cows sold into the United States, according to the USDA. The department said it had traced one of those cows to Boardman, Ore., and three more to Quincy, Wash. Investigators were still looking for the other 13 in that group, as well as the remaining 58 cows from the 81 brought into the United States.

Meanwhile, senior US officials are meeting this week with officials in Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and South Korea to discuss BSE-related trade issues. Many countries have banned imports of US beef because of concern about BSE.

See also:

Jan 21 USDA statement on BSE investigation
http://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0030.04.html

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