Bovine spongiform encephalopathy was today confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 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 ten 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.