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article image'Mad cow' disease detected in Ireland

By Tim Sandle     Jun 25, 2015 in Health
Dublin - A single case of "mad cow disease" has been identified in the Republic of Ireland, from a dairy located in County Louth.
The suspect cow was identified early in June 2015, following its sudden death. Authorities were initially alarmed that other cows could also be affected at the farm; however, all other tests have recorded negative results. The cow was around five years old.
Authorities, at the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, have assured Irish citizens that the cow did not enter the food chain and that the body was disposed of through incineration.
The cause of the infection has yet to be reported. Nevertheless, the death comes in the wake of a clampdown on feeding cows — natural vegetarians — animal remains. The cases in Ireland are relatively low (1,353 to date) and they have not reached the levels seen in the U.K., where the practice of feeding ground down sheep brains to cows in the 1980s and 1990s saw some 180,000 cattle become infected and the government forced to slaughter of 4 million cattle. The British case led to a tightening up of animal feeding practices worldwide.
The infectious agent is a prion (a type of heat-resistant misfolded protein), termed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (dubbed "mad cow disease"). It is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, triggering a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. The disease can be transmitted to people if an infected animal was to be eaten, where it manifests as a new variant, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
Commenting on the Irish case, government official Eddie Downey said “consumers can be reassured about the robustness of the food safety controls in place in Ireland.”
More about Mad cow, Mad cow disease, Bse, TSE
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