Published On: Thu, Feb 27th, 2014

Germany detects ‘Mad Cow disease’ case during targeted surveillance

A cow from a farm in the eastern Germany city of Brandenburg was detected to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). or “mad cow disease” at  slaughter, according to a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report Feb. 25.

Germany-CIA_WFB_MapThe cow was detected on Jan. 30 via  the German targeted BSE surveillance system. The investigation into the case showed the animal was 11 years, 4 months old at slaughter and showed no clinical signs of the disease. H-type BSE was detected by immunoblot tests done as part of routine surveillance by the Friedrich Loeffler-Institute.

This type of BSE is a very rare form of the disease not associated with feeding, according to the OIE report.

The OIE report states that the identified animal did not enter the food channels; at no time it presented any risk to human health.

Epidemiological investigation of the case reveals eight offspring cattle, three of which were already slaughtered, one of which has been fallen and four of which have been traded to another Member State. The tracing of the bovines born on the farm from one year before until one year after the birth of the identified cow revealed 371 bovines (177 have been already slaughtered, 63 were fallen stock, 3 have been traded within the territory of Germany, 127 have been traded to other States, one has been culled and destroyed).

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) — commonly referred to as “mad cow disease” — is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that affects cattle.

According to the website, BSE Info:

Two different types of unusual BSE have been described in the literature. First, the L-type was named for the low molecular mass of the unglycosylatedisoform of the PrPSc in Western blots and with amyloidplaque deposition in the brain, differing from classical BSE cases which lack amyloid plaque deposition; these cases also display a wider distribution of PrPSc throughout the brain. The L-type is also referred to as “bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy” or BASE. This isoform was first reported in Italy. Other cases have been detected in Japan, Germany, and Belgium, Denmark and Poland.

The H-type was named for the high molecular mass of the unglycosylated isoform of the PrPSc in Western blots. Not much is known about the distribution of PrPSc in the brain of H-type cases, but it appears that the staining intensity for PrPSc is less intense when compared to classical BSE cases. The H-type was first reported in France. Additional cases have been found in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom. The two cases of BSE from animals born and raised in the United States display characteristics of H-type BSE cases and were discovered through the active surveillance program for classical BSE; the animals did not enter the food chain.

The OIE does not recognize an atypical form of BSE as a distinct entity for the purpose of its international standards; it is not mentioned in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, which does not distinguish between different forms of BSE.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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