Fourth USA Case of Mad Cow

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 – USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford today released the following statement on the detection of BSE in the United States:

"As part of our targeted surveillance system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California. The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE.

"The United States has had longstanding interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE. For public health, these measures include the USDA ban on specified risk materials, or SRMs, from the food supply. SRMs are parts of the animal that are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal. USDA also bans all nonambulatory (sometimes called "downer") cattle from entering the human food chain. For animal health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on ruminant material in cattle feed prevents the spread of the disease in the cattle herd.

"Evidence shows that our systems and safeguards to prevent BSE are working, as are similar actions taken by countries around the world. In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE, a dramatic decline and 99% reduction since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases. This is directly attributable to the impact and effectiveness of feed bans as a primary control measure for the disease.

"Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.

"We are sharing our laboratory results with international animal health reference laboratories in Canada and England, which have official World Animal Health (OIE) reference labs. These labs have extensive experience diagnosing atypical BSE and will review our confirmation of this form of the disease. In addition, we will be conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation in conjunction with California animal and public health officials and the FDA.

"BSE is a progressive neurological disease among cattle that is always fatal. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Affected animals may display nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture, difficulty in coordination and rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body weight despite continued appetite.

"This detection in no way affects the United States' BSE status as determined by the OIE. The United States has in place all of the elements of a system that OIE has determined ensures that beef and beef products are safe for human consumption: a mammalian feed ban, removal of specified risk materials, and vigorous surveillance. Consequently, this detection should not affect U.S. trade.

"USDA remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products. As the epidemiological investigation progresses, USDA will continue to communicate findings in a timely and transparent manner."

Third USA Case of Mad Cow in People


UNITED STATES: A young adult, who recently relocated to the U.S. from the Middle East, was diagnosed with the rare brain-destroying disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Virginia Department of Health confirmed a case of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) in a U.S. resident. This is the third vCJD case identified in a U.S. resident.

According to a CDC news release, the patient is a young adult who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and has lived in the United States since late 2005. The patient occasionally stayed in the United States for up to three months at a time since 2001 and there was a shorter visit in 1989.

Variant CJD is a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder that emerged in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Approximately 200 people have been affected worldwide – most cases have been in the United Kingdom. Although experience with this new disease is limited, evidence to date indicates that there has never been a case transmitted from person-to-person except through blood transfusion. Instead, the disease is thought to result primarily from consumption of cattle products contaminated with the agent that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), another fatal brain-destroying disease. Although no cases of BSE in cattle have been reported in Saudi Arabia, potentially contaminated cattle products from the United Kingdom may have been exported to Saudi Arabia for many years during the large UK BSE outbreak.

In the most recent U.S. case, the patient has no history of blood transfusion, neurosurgical procedures, or residing in or visiting countries in Europe. Based on the patient's history, the occurrence of a previously reported Saudi case of vCJD attributed to likely consumption of BSE-contaminated cattle products in Saudi Arabia, and they expected greater than seven-year incubation period for food-related vCJD.

“This U.S. case-patient was most likely infected from contaminated cattle products consumed as a child when living in Saudi Arabia,” CDC said. “The current patient has no history of donating blood and the public health investigation has identified no risk of transmission to U.S. residents from this patient.”

Web posted: December 6, 2006

Is the Mad Cow Fear Rational?

What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

What Are The Odds???  The probability of contracting  Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is far lower than the odds of being struck by lightning.  Here is a comment from WebMD.


Now for Ted Slanker's Commentary . . .

The Truth of the Matter

The April 24, 2012 case of a cow being diagnosed with Mad Cow was one that had been culled and sent to the glue factory.  In no way was anyone in danger of eating meat from that cow.

Interestingly this cow was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.

To date only three Americans in all of history out of a population of 316,000,000 people may have contracted vCJD and died as a result.  World wide it's about 300 people out of a population of 7 BILLION.

How this affliction grabs so many headlines is pretty amazing in my book.  Literally hundreds of millions of people (actually nearly ALL Americans) are suffering from chronic disease here in the US and nobody seems to fear the cause.  For decades leading nutritional scientists have been pointing to grain in the diet as the reason for so much chronic disease.  They have been pointing directly at grain, grain-based foods (think breakfast cereal for just one item), and grain-fed livestock products people consume on a daily basis.  This is why I say people are worrying about a lady finger firecracker rather than the atomic bomb.

Go to Science Links and you'll see.

Ted Slanker

The Origins of BSE? by Mark Purdey