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Mar 8, 2015

06:03:07 GMT--Biological Hazard - North-America - Canada

EDIS Number: BH-20150308-47237-CAN

Date / time: 08/03/2015 06:01:28 [UTC]

Event: Biological Hazard

Area: North-America

Country: Canada

State/County: Province of Alberta

Location: [Spruce Grove area]

Number of Deads: N/A

Number of Injured: N/A

Number of Infected: N/A

Number of Missing: N/A

Number of Affected: N/A

Number of Evacuated: N/A

Damage level: N/A


For nearly a month now, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been investigating a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) on a Spruce Grove farm. The name of the farm is not being released. BSE - more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease - is a fatal neurological disease in cattle that has been linked to a fatal disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). vCJD causes what the World Health Organization (WHO) refers to as the "spongy degeneration of the brain." The BSE case was detected at the beginning of February and the CFIA has said no part of the animal's carcass entered the human food or animal feed system. The last confirmed case of BSE in Canada was in 2011. "The detection of a small number of additional BSE cases is not unexpected in the context of the 30,000 (beef) samples we take annually as Canada continues our ongoing management of this disease," said Paul Mayers, vice-president of policy and programs for CFIA. "There is no risk to food safety." CFIA held its most recent news conference on the case on Friday, Feb. 27, where Mayers said the investigation is going to take time. "Our in-depth investigation ... includes identification of animals who may have been exposed to the same feed," he said, noting the CFIA has identified the animal's birth cohort and is tracing those animals to determine their locations and status. The farm the cow died on was not its birth farm. The birth farm was in Northern Alberta but CFIA have not disclosed the municipality. "Over the course of our investigation, we have confirmed that incidentally, this 2015 case was born on the same farm as the previous BSE case detected in 2010," Mayers said. The birth farm has been quarantined and is co-operating with the CFIA's investigation. The CFIA has said this recent case developed in a cow born in March 2009. As they trace associated animals that may have been exposed to the same feed as this cow, the CFIA will destroy any animals still living that are deemed of equivalent risk. The investigation could take months. Since 2007, Canada has had an enhanced feed ban in place designed to limit the spread of BSE through specified risk materials. The enhanced feed ban prohibits a list of tissues from being used in the human food and animal feed supply.

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