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Alta. cow tests positive for BSE: CFIA

(Resource News International) — Canada’s 17th case of BSE was discovered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) last month but has only now been publicly announced.

The federal government’s communication strategy for reporting cases of bovine sponsgiform encephalopathy (BSE) now involves only providing information on a monthly basis. A CFIA spokesperson could only confirm to RNI that one animal did test positive for BSE.

Later on Wednesday, however, the CFIA’s web page documenting cases of reportable animal diseases on a monthly basis was updated to include new details on the animal.

CFIA now describes the animal as a 72-month-old beef cow from Alberta, confirmed Feb. 25 as having BSE.

Other industry sources said the infected animal was a six-year old black Angus cow and was discovered through the country’s national BSE surveillance program, which tests high-risk animals for the disease.

As of August 2009, the CFIA no longer notifies the public or media of each new case of BSE as it’s discovered. Rather, that information is now provided on a monthly basis on the CFIA’s website.

With this latest animal there have been a total of 17 cases of BSE discovered in Canada since the first incidence in 2003, not counting an Alberta-born BSE-positive animal that was found in Washington state in 2003 and is typically credited to Canada.

The February case is also Alberta’s 12th, compared to four from British Columbia and one from Manitoba.

CFIA has always said that the discovery of occasional BSE cases is to be expected, as the country works to eradicate the disease from the herd.

CFIA’s listings of cases of reportable diseases in livestock for the month of February also included five separate cases of anaplasmosis in beef cattle in Manitoba.

Also reported in February were two cases of scrapie in sheep: one in Quebec, and one of “atypical” scrapie in Saskatchewan.

— With files by Dave Bedard.

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