The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today confirmed that it has identified a case of ‘Atypical BSE’ in an 18 year old cow in Galway, through its surveillance of ‘fallen’ animals (died on farm) at knackeries.


The animal tested positive on a screening test carried out at a Department approved, accredited private laboratory over the weekend and was then subject to follow up confirmatory tests at the Department’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory.

There are no associated public health risks with this event – a comprehensive set of public health controls are in place and the animal in this case was excluded from the food chain and its carcase will be incinerated.

The disclosure of this case of Atypical BSE does not have any impact of Ireland’s current OIE BSE ‘controlled risk’ status or trade status.

According to BSE info, Atypical BSE is simply a case where the disease pattern and expression doesn’t fit what’s typically expected. For example, atypical cases of BSE may not be transmitted through infected feed like classic BSE, but rather may occur sporadically among older cattle. Importantly, BSE is a diminishing disease worldwide and atypical cases are even rarer.

There have been 101 atypical BSE cases identified in the European Union during the period 2003 to 2015. This compares to a total of 2,999 cases of classical BSE during the same period.

BSE does not transfer horizontally from animal to animal – no risk to other animals arises from this case animal.