'Mad cow disease' in Aberdeenshire farm after BSE confirmed

Alicia Farmer
October 19, 2018

It has been described as an "isolated case" and did not enter the human food chain, meaning there is no risk to human health, a spokesman for Food Standards Scotland said.

A case of Mad Cow Disease has been identified on an Aberdeenshire firm, officials have confirmed.

BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, was first recognised in 1986 and peaked in the United Kingdom in 1992, when more than 37,000 cases were recorded nationally.

A case of mad cow disease has been discovered on a farm in Aberdeen, the Scottish government has confirmed.

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The finding of the disease is a "disappointment", said Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer, Sheila Voas.

The disease has been reduced to a handful of cases each year in the United Kingdom, with the last recorded case in Wales in 2015.

Eating meat from animals infected with BSE has been tied to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, an incurable human illness that destroys brain tissue.

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An investigation has been launched by the Animal Health Agency.

It is thought to be caused by proteins known as prions. Before that, the animal becomes aggressive and loses its coordination, which is why the illness has been dubbed "mad cow disease".

Ewing said the case represents "further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working".

In the 1990s, a mass outbreak of BSE resulted in a ten year ban instituted by the European Union on importing British beef, which began in 1996.

BSE was first discovered in the United Kingdom back in 1986, when more than 180,000 were infected with the disase when it was at its height - peaking in 1993 with nearly 1,000 new cases per week, with 4.4 million slaughtered as part of the eradication programme.

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland said: "There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity".

This is the first case of BSE on United Kingdom soil since 2015, according to the BBC.

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