Case of atypical BSE identified in Canada

The older cow was located in Alberta
calendar icon 20 December 2021
clock icon 2 minute read

An older cow in Alberta tested positive for atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Nate Horner, Alberta Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, said in a released statement.

“The quick discovery of this atypical case proves how effective the Canada and Alberta BSE Surveillance Program is and how dedicated our producers are to eliminating BSE in Canada’s cattle herd," said Horner.

“Atypical BSE spontaneously happens at a rate of about one in one million cattle regardless of how well a producer takes care of their herd," he continued. "It has been reported six times in the US, most recently in 2018, as well as a few other countries."

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is leading the response and the Alberta government is providing support where possible with help from industry, producers and veterinary professionals, said Horner. 

“On December 20, Alberta government and CFIA officials will meet with stakeholders from across the province’s cattle industry to answer questions and reassure them that all levels of government are working together on this case," Horner added.

“The detection of this atypical case is Canada’s first case of BSE in more than six years, which we owe to our cattle producers’ vigilance and the success of surveillance and control measures we’ve implemented across the country over the past 20 years," he said. 

Atypical BSE presents no risk to human health, is not transmissible, and this case is not expected to have market impacts.

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