According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an inconclusive bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) test was received on a rapid screening test.
APHIS Associate Deputy Administrator Andrea Morgan assures the inconclusive result does not mean there is another case of BSE in the country. "Inconclusive results are a normal component of screening tests, which are designed to be extremely sensitive so they will detect any sample that could possibly be positive," she says.
Unlike when the enhanced surveillance program began in June 2004, inconclusives are not announced until the submitting laboratory is allowed to run a follow-up test on the same sample to confirm an inconclusive is in fact an inconclusive. Morgan explains that this inconclusive is the first to be found since the new policy was put in place in July to prevent market disruption with the announcement of inconclusives before a second test is run on the sample.
Tissue samples are now being sent to USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories to run confirmatory testing.
Morgan says the animal does come from the targeted high-risk category, not the 20,000 normal cattle. Morgan explains APHIS has begun internal steps to begin initial tracebacks, if further testing were to return a positive result. However, it is important to note, that this animal did not enter the food or feed chain.
Confirmatory results are expected back from NVSL within the next four to seven days. If the test comes back positive for BSE, USDAwill provide additional information about the animal and its origin.