The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an 8 and a half year old beef cow on a farm in Alberta.

The CFIA notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of the discovery — the first in Canada since 2015 — on December 17.

The finding will not affect Canada’s negligible risk status with the OIE, says the CFIA, and market access “should be unaffected.”

Atypical BSE cases are generally observed in older animals, and are found in countries where no classical BSE has been reported. These two factors support the assumption that this extremely rare disease develops spontaneously, notes the CFIA.

No quarantine or restrictions have been placed on the farm where it was found.

“The quick discovery of this atypical case proves how effective the Canada and Alberta BSE Surveillance Program is and how dedicated our producers are to eliminating BSE in Canada’s cattle herd,” notes Alberta Agriculture Minister Nate Horner, in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

“Atypical BSE spontaneously happens at a rate of about one in one million cattle regardless of how well a producer takes care of their herd. It has been reported six times in the U.S., most recently in 2018, as well as a few other countries,” continues Horner.

Alberta government and CFIA officials will meet with stakeholders from the province’s cattle industry to discuss the finding on Monday, December 20.

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