Category: Archive

‘Mad Cow’ cases exceed 100 in Y2K

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — The number of cases of "mad cow" disease has exceeded 100 in a year for the first time since it was detected in 1989, according to figures released by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

There were 14 cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy detected in cattle during October, bringing the total for the year so far to 101, or 104 if three so-called "cohort" cases are included.

This compares to 91 cases for the whole of last year.

The Department said the age profile of the cases detected in nine of the 26 counties indicated that measures to control the disease were working.

"The figures are showing what the EU’s Scientific Steering Committee expected: that there would be a temporary increase over the next couple of years as the older animals work through the system."

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The number of cases is unlikely to decline until after 2002.

The spokesman said the strictest and most comprehensive controls in the world on BSE are in place in Ireland.

There have been 556 cases since the first infected cow was detected in January 1989.

The incidence of infection in the country’s cattle herd of more than 7.5 million is very small — 0.0012 percent.

The feeding of meat and bone meal to cattle, either directly or in feedstuffs, has been banned since 1990.

Control and surveillance measures were stepped up in 1996/97. When a suspected animal is discovered, it is destroyed and its head is taken for examination.

If tests on the brain confirm BSE, the rest of the herd is taken away and slaughtered.

Full market value is paid in compensation and the farm is treated and left vacant for more than 30 days.

All progeny of the herd are also traced and destroyed.

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