A dead cow on a farm in Wales was infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as “Mad Cow Disease”, the Welsh government has confirmed.
The location of the farm has not yet been identified, but Rebecca Evans, deputy minister of farming and food, said the case was "isolated" and posed no health risk to humans or other animals:
It did not enter the human food chain and the Food Standards Agency and Public Health Wales have confirmed there is no risk to human health as a result of this isolated case.
Officials are now working alongside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency to investigate the circumstances of the case.
Evans said the other cows on the farm, including the dead cow's offspring, were being isolated and would be “destroyed within EU requirements”.
The case was identified as a result of a government rule requiring all dead farm animals over the age of four to be tested for BSE.
Identification of this case demonstrates that the controls we have in place are working well.Beef across the UK continues to be produced in compliance with the World Organisation for Animal Health rules.
BSE was first recognised in cattle in the UK in 1986 and, by 1993, more than 1,000 cases were being reported each week. In total around 180,000 cases were found throughout the entire outbreak, involving more than half of the dairy herds in the UK.
In May 1995, 19-year-old Stephen Churchill died from variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (vCJD). A further three people died that year, and in 1996 scientists confirmed there was a link between the two diseases.
At its peak in 2000, 28 deaths were recorded as being caused by vCJD.