Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was today confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in a mature beef cow from Alberta. No part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.

Preliminary information provided by the owner and an examination conducted by a private veterinarian estimate the animal’s age was between eight and 10 years of age. Based on this range, exposure to the BSE agent likely occurred either before the feed ban’s introduction or during its early implementation. The estimated age of this animal is consistent with those of previous Canadian cases and exposure to a very low level of BSE infectivity.

A CFIA investigation is underway to locate the positive animal’s birth farm. This information, if determined, will serve to definitively verify the animal’s age as well as help identify herdmates of interest and potential sources of contaminated feed. As has been done previously, the CFIA will conduct a complete epidemiological review of this case, the results of which will be made public.

The national BSE surveillance program continues to demonstrate its capacity to effectively detect periodic BSE cases as Canada progresses toward the eradication of the disease. All cases confirmed in Canada have been identified through the program, which, since 2003, has tested more than 117,500 cattle from the highest risk populations.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency