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Ireland suspends beef exports to China after atypical BSE case confirmed

There are no public health risks associated with this case.

Image: Shutterstock/LisaGriffin

Updated May 27th 2020, 12:47 PM

THE EXPORT OF Irish beef to China has been temporarily suspended after an atypical case of BSE was identified in a cow earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture has said. 

The department said there are no public health risks associated with this case which was confirmed as atypical BSE in a lab last Friday. Aytpical cases of the disease often show up in older cows who were asymptomatic. 

From that day, Ireland suspended beef exports to China in line with a specific protocol in place with the Chinese authorities. 

This suspension will remain until an epidemiological report is complete and discussed with China, the Irish Farmers Journal first reported today.

“On 14 May, the [department] identified a suspected case of atypical BSE in a 14-year old cow as a result of its surveillance of ‘fallen’ animals,” the Department of Agriculture told TheJournal.ie.  

Last Friday, laboratory tests confirmed the atypical case of the disease. However, this won’t affect Ireland’s status of having a ‘controlled risk’ of BSE.

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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, was first identified in Ireland in 1989. Since then, evidence of an animal displaying clinical signs of the disease must be notified to the Department of Agriculture. 

A similar case of atypical BSE was confirmed in 2017 – with no public health risk associated in that instance either. 

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