Czechs confirm BSE case, will cull around 200 cows

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Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:51am EDT


PRAGUE, March 27 (Reuters) - Czech state veterinarians said on Friday they had found a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a cow in the north of the country and they would cull around 200 related cattle.

It was the first case of the so-called "mad cow" disease in the central European state since two emerged in 2007.

"It was a 66 month-old cow... that was slaughtered in a slaughterhouse so it had no visible clinical symptoms. It was found during a regular check," said Josef Duben, spokesman of the State Veterinary Office.

Duben said the cow had been born on the farm in the village of Roprachtice, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north-east of Prague, close to the border with Poland.

"They are now looking for related cows that need to be checked. This means some 200 cattle would need to be slaughtered," Duben said.

He said the meat will be destroyed and there was no health threat to the population.

"We cannot rule out more cases but they have been very sporadic in the past," Duben said.

The office believed the cow got the disease from infected feed, but Duben said it would be hard to track because the infection happened more than five years ago.

Mad cow disease is believed to be spread when cattle eat protein rendered from the brains and spines of infected cattle or sheep. The human form of BSE, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, is believed to be caused by eating meat from infected animals.

The Czech Republic, a net importer of beef last year, is listed as a controlled BSE risk country by the World Organisation for Animal Health, alongside neighbouring countries like Germany, Poland and Slovakia. (Reporting by Martin Dokoupil)



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