CNN Reports:Quarantine for more mad cow herds
Tuesday, January 20, 2004 Posted: 8:36 PM EST (0136 GMT)
• Special Report: The outbreak in Europe
• Canada nears end of mad cow probe
• FDA:Q&A about mad cow disease
THE HUMAN LINK
•Mad cow disease was first reported in the United Kingdom in 1986, peaking in 1993 with almost 1,000 new cases per week.
•In 1996, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) was detected in humans and linked to the mad cow epidemic. Eating contaminated meat and cattle products is presumed to be the cause.
•Both are fatal brain diseases with unusually long incubation periods, often lasting years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Two more herds in Washington state have been quarantined as the number of cattle linked to a cow infected with mad cow disease increases, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Tuesday.
Investigators are still searching for 58 of the 81 cattle that were the herdmates of a Holstein cow found infected with the disease last month.
The animals were shipped to the United States from a Canadian dairy farm in September 2001.
Agriculture Department investigators believe the herdmates may have shared the same source of contaminated feed that was the source of the disease, properly known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
Six American herds have now been quarantined since the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was announced on December 23 in Mabton, Washington.
The news sparked blanket bans of U.S. beef from importers in Europe and across Asia, angering American trade officials.
Mad cow disease first surfaced in the United Kingdom and is believed to come from contaminated feed. The fatal disease is passed from cows to humans through the consumption of beef.
It has been linked to 140 deaths, mostly in Europe.
American officials said at least three herdmates of the infected cow were sent to a dairy farm in Tenino, Washington and another six went to a farm in Connell, Washington.
DNA tests confirm the infected cow was born in Alberta, Canada, more than six years ago. The farm where the animal was born went out of business in 2001. The herd was sold off in several transactions.
The Agriculture Department said it completed on Monday the killing of 129 animals from the quarantined herd in Mabton.
Earlier this month, investigators destroyed some 450 bull calves at a quarantined herd in Sunnyside, Washington.
Consumer and animal-health groups, working with some members of the U.S. House of Representatives, will renew on Wednesday their call for broad prohibitions on so-called downer animals entering the food chain.
USDA recently banned downer cattle -- those that arrive at slaughterhouses unable to walk -- from being processed into meat.
The ban represented a reversal for the USDA and for the U.S. cattle industry.