The Alabama cow diagnosed this week with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was at least 10 years of age, USDA officials confirmed Thursday.
That means the animal was born before the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban imposed by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997. Of the two U.S.-born cows diagnosed with BSE since 2003, both were born prior to the 1997 ban.
Officials also located a six-week-old calf belonging to the BSE-positive animal. The calf has been quarantined and will be moved to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for further observation, the USDA announced.
Meanwhile, the USDA is trying to determine the herd-of-origin for the Alabama cow. The cow was at the farm in Alabama for less than a year, and its whereabouts before that time are unknown.
The animal was confirmed BSE-positive on the basis of a Western blot confirmatory test earlier this week. A second confirmatory test, known as immunohistochemistry, has confirmed the animal positive, as well.
For daily updates from the USDA, go to: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/bse.shtml