A case of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease was confirmed in a 12-year-old cow, which died on a farm in Adlešiči, in southeastern Slovenia, according to the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE).

Cow and calf Image/Agricultural Research Services
Cow and calf
Image/Agricultural Research Services

Testing by the National Veterinary Institute (National laboratory) were positive for BSE via rapid tests and Western Blot.

The reported case was transmitted by  Mrs Simona Salamon, Head of Audit, Administration Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture, forestry and food, Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for food safety, veterinary sector and plant protection, LJUBLJANA, Slovenia.

In addition, the cohort included four animals, three of them were slaughtered in 2005 and 2012 and one animal is still alive and kept in another holding. This animal will be killed and safely disposed of.  The sample will be sent to the European Union Reference Laboratory, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Weybridge (United Kingdom) for BSE typing.

Measures applied or to be applied include traceability and stamping out.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BSE is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unusual transmissible agent called a prion. The nature of the transmissible agent is not well understood.

Currently, the most accepted theory is that the agent is a modified form of a normal protein known as prion protein. For reasons that are not yet understood, the normal prion protein changes into a pathogenic (harmful) form that then damages the central nervous system of cattle.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief ofOutbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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