Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Medical | By

Mad cow disease case confirmed on farm in Scotland

Mad cow disease case confirmed on farm in Scotland

Investigators are trying to find the cause of the disease, with a movement ban put in place at the farm while they investigate.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said a precautionary movement ban has been placed on the farm.

Back in the 90s there was a big problem with BSE and we've learned an bad lot of lessons from then and there are various controls in place to make sure that never happens again.

The animal did not enter the human food chain and the Food Standards Scotland authority confirmed there was "no risk to human health" resulting from the isolated case, the statement said.

Though officials are not sure where the case of BSE on the Aberdeenshire farm originated from, "its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job", Sheila Voas, Scotland's chief veterinary officer, added.

Eating meat from animals infected with BSE has been tied to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, an incurable human illness that destroys brain tissue.

An investigation has been launched by the Animal Health Agency.

The real impact of this case will be that Scotland is nearly certain to lose its status as an area with negligible BSE risk, which could affect whether importers buy British beef.


BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, was first recognised in 1986 and peaked in the United Kingdom in 1992, when more than 37,000 cases were recorded nationally.

"The BSE outbreak in the late [1980s] had a devastating impact on the United Kingdom cattle industry, yet it provided some extremely valuable insights into how to deal with future disease issues", she said.

He said: 'While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the disease's origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working'.

"Be assured that the Scottish Government and its partners stand ready to respond to any further confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland".

"We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government, other agencies and industry at this time".

It is believed to be "isolated", and was discovered after routine tests that take place after an animal dies on a farm.

Only the infectious agent causing Classical BSE has been demonstrated to be transmissible to humans and was first diagnosed in the United Kingdom in 1986.

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