The Department of Agriculture says a Florida case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has no impact on the BSE free status of the nation. USDA says the BSE case is considered atypical, not classical, the much more worrisome form of BSE. The disease was discovered on a six-year-old mixed-breed beef cow in Florida and was tested by a lab at Colorado State University as part of routine surveillance of cattle that are deemed unsuitable for slaughter.
BSE is not contagious and exists in two types – classical and atypical. Classical BSE is the form that has been linked to disease in people. Atypical BSE is different, and it generally occurs in older cattle, usually eight years of age or greater. It seems to arise rarely and spontaneously in all cattle populations, according to USDA.
This is the nation’s 6th detection of BSE. Of the five previous U.S. cases, the first, in 2003, was a case of classical BSE in a cow imported from Canada. The rest have been atypical.