Canada reports atypical case of mad cow disease, OIE says

·1-min read

PARIS (Reuters) - Canada has reported a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an 8-1/2 year old beef cow in the province of Alberta, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday.

The carcass did not enter the human food or animal feed chains, the Paris-based OIE said, citing a report from the Canadian authorities. An outbreak of BSE, more commonly known as mad cow disease, badly hit Canadian exports around 20 years ago.

In Ottawa, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the discovery should not affect market access for Canadian animals and beef products.

"Atypical strains occur naturally and sporadically in all cattle populations at a very low rate and have only been identified in older cattle," it said in a statement.

Canada's previous most recent confirmed case had been in 2015, in a cow born in 2009. The agency said it was keeping in place measures to prevent cattle tissues capable of transmitting BSE from getting into the food system.

The first confirmed Canadian case of BSE was detected on an Alberta cattle farm in 2003, resulting in some 40 export markets closing. Many have long since reopened.

Earlier this year Canada said the OIE had improved the country's international risk status for mad cow disease, potentially opening new export markets.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Jane Merriman and David Gregorio)

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