A case of the fatal mad cow disease has been reported on a farm in Somerset. According to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), the infected animal has died and has been removed. Health authorities say this does not pose any potential threat to food safety or public health.
Confirming the infection on Friday, APHA said it will begin a
thorough investigation of the herd, the premises, potential sources of infection and will produce a full report on the incident in due course.
Mad Cow Disease
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, affects the central nervous system of cattle and can be very fatal.
The agency said the UK recorded only confirmed cases of the disease in livestock since 2014. The discovery of this infection in just one cow is no cause for worry, according to chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss.
We recognize this will be a traumatic time for the farmer, and we are on hand to offer advice through this difficult period. The UK's overall risk status for BSE remains at 'controlled'.
The Food Standards Agency assured the public that things are under control to protect consumers from the risk of this disease.
A spokesperson for the agency 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.
In the 1990s, millions of cattle in the UK were culled when there was an outbreak of BSE in livestock.
Strict measures were instituted to safeguard the health of consumers after the infection was found to have caused a fatal condition in humans known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).