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B.C. BSE case was five-year-old dairy cow

A five-year-old dairy cow from an unnamed region of British Columbia was Canada’s 13th case of BSE, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday.

Though the animal was born well after Ottawa originally imposed its 1997 ban on the use of ruminant tissues in feed for ruminant livestock, CFIA said in a release that the Holstein cow’s age is “consistent with previous Canadian cases, which range from 50 months to 192 months of age.”

The cow’s age also indicates it was exposed to “a very low amount of infective material, probably during its first year of life,” CFIA wrote.

However, the agency added, as the level of BSE in Canada continues to decline, the “periodic detection of a small number of cases is fully expected and in line with the experiences of other countries.”

As in all of Canada’s previous cases of BSE in cattle dating back to 2003, CFIA now continues its usual investigation of the animal’s background, including tracing the cow’s herdmates at birth, as defined by international BSE response guidelines. CFIA said it “will also undertake a comprehensive feed investigation to examine how this animal became infected.”

None of the cow’s tissues or meat entered the food or feed supply, CFIA said, and the finding of BSE in the animal does not affect Canada’s status as a “controlled-risk” country for BSE.

The B.C. case, which was first announced by CFIA on Monday, is Canada’s 13th, not counting a BSE-positive animal found in Washington state in late 2003 that was traced back to Alberta and is usually credited to Canada. The latest case was also the third BSE-positive animal to be found in B.C.

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