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Canada’s 13th mad cow found in B.C.

Few details have been released so far about Canada’s 13th case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), found in a cow in British Columbia.

Details not yet available Monday in the CFIA’s announcement include the animal’s age, and the area of the province where it was found.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a release Monday that it has “launched a comprehensive investigation in an effort to determine the birth farm of the animal,” which was found through the national BSE surveillance program.

CFIA senior veterinarian George Luterbach was quoted Monday by the Reuters news agency as saying the animal had died on-farm and was removed by a deadstock service.

As usual, CFIA assured the public that “this case poses no risk to human or animal health since Canada’s stringent BSE safeguards prevented any part of the animal’s carcass from entering the human food chain or any potentially infective parts of the animal’s carcass from entering the animal feed chain.”

As the level of BSE continues to decline in Canada, a small number of cases are likely to be detected from time to time, a situation “fully expected in line with the experience of other countries,” CFIA said.

The detection of the B.C. cow also won’t affect Canada’s status as a BSE “controlled risk” country as recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The OIE’s designation has allowed Canada to resume beef and cattle exports to several countries, such as the U.S.

The cow becomes Canada’s 13th confirmed case of BSE, without counting a case found in Washington state in late 2003 that was traced back to an Alberta farm and is usually credited to Canada.

The agency now moves into the usual investigation mode to track down the animal’s birth herd as well as the farm where it might have picked up prions, the misfolded proteins that cause BSE, also known as mad cow disease.

The case marks the third found in a cow from British Columbia. Of Canada’s other BSE cases since its first in 2003, nine were found on farms in Alberta and one in Manitoba.

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