Confirmed case of BSE in Brazilian Cow

An Agro Santa Barbara cowboy rounds up cattle in Xinguara, Para state. ( Gerson Freitas Jr., Bloomberg )

Brazilian officials have confirmed an atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in the state of Mato Grosso. Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said the disease was found in a 17-year-old cow.

Officials said the necessary material for tests were collected and all other parts of the cow were incinerated.

“No part of the animal entered the food chain, there are no risks for the population,” the Agriculture Ministry said.

All sanitary risk mitigation actions were completed prior to the final outcome being issued by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory. Following confirmation on Friday (May 31), Brazil officially notified the OIE and importing countries, as provided by international standards.

According to OIE standards, there will be no change in Brazil’s risk classification for the disease, which will remain as an insignificant country of risk, the best possible for BSE. In more than 20 years of surveillance for the disease, Brazil recorded only three cases of atypical BSE and no cases of classical BSE.

The case was considered “atypical” as the animal contracted the BSE protein spontaneously, rather than through the feed supply. Classical cases of BSE are caused when cattle are fed brain or spinal tissue of other ruminants, which is now forbidden in nearly all beef producing countries including Brazil.

In 2012 in Brazil tests showed that a cow that had died two years earlier in Parana state had developed the protein that causes BSE, though the animal never developed the disease and died of natural causes.