SEARCH VEGSOURCE:

 

 

Follow Ups | Post Followup | Back to Discussion Board | VegSource
See spam or
inappropriate posts?
Please let us know.
  




From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr. (pool143-110.dial-u2.hou.wt.net)
Subject: Re: Atypical Case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in an East-Flemish Cow in Belgium
Date: February 4, 2005 at 1:11 pm PST

In Reply to: Atypical Case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in an East-Flemish Cow in Belgium posted by Terry S. Singeltary Sr. on February 4, 2005 at 8:59 am:

OK, so since the MAD SHEEP FROM MAD RIVER VALLEY were detected
of having an ATYPICAL TSE and since there WAS a DECLARATION OF
EMERGENCY ordered for them, SINCE THEY were confiscated and ordered
slaughtered for further testing that NEVER TOOK PLACE. SINCE THEY
TOO WERE FROM BELGIUM, THEY TOO ATE THE SAME FEED as these atypical
cows did most likely. SINCE VERMONTERS WERE TOLD NOT TO EAT THE
CHEESE, but the cheese was not recalled. i only ponder what the future brings for them???


> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: hello Dr. Sutton...question please...scrapie...TSS
> Date: Thu, 20 May 2004 14:36:09 -0400
> From: Jim.D.Rogers@aphis.usda.gov
> To: flounder@wt.net
>
>
>
> Dear Mr. Singeltary,
>
> The Western blot tests on these animals were completed in April of this
> year. That means that we can begin the mouse inoculations. To get the
> results of the Western blot tests, you will need to submit a Freedom of
> Information Act request through our FOIA office. The FAX number there is
> 301-734-5941.
>
> Have a nice day,
>
> Jim Rogers
> APHIS LPA
> ==========


IF you remember correctly, Dr. Detwiler kindly replied to me about
this ;

6/12/04

Mr. Singeltary.


I hope this finds you well. As you are aware I left the USDA last year. I can only update you on the sheep before that time. Contact was established with the UK on doing the bioassay studies. They agreed. However, we were prioritized after their own needs, hence the delay. I am aware that there are now additional labs in Europe running the mouse bioassay strain typing. You will have to contact USDA for further word.

Linda Detwiler

TODAY, i finally recieve this from SEAC about these so called
mouse bioassays that never took place on the Vermont sheep,
and it still looks like the ball was dropped by the USDA to me.
I guess like everything else they do, we will never know the truth...


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: re-85th Meeting of SEAC - 30.11.04
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 16:56:55 -0000
From: "Barlow, Tom (SEAC)"
To: "'flounder@wt.net'"

Dear Mr Singeltary

Thank you for you enquiry to the SEAC secretariat about mouse bioassays
commissioned by the USDA to investigate TSE cases in imported sheep. After making a number of enquiries, it appears that Defra were not involved
with this work. However, it is possible that a UK research laboratory was
contacted by the USDA about such tests but I have been unable to find out
any further information. You may wish to make further enquiries with the
USDA.

Yours sincerely

Tom Barlow

Dr Tom Barlow
Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) Secretariat
Area 108, 1A Page Street, London SW1P 4PQ

>
> Greetings List members,
>
>
> I do not understand this process of testing?
>
> IF we go back, and if I remember correctly;
>
>> These tests involve the use of bioassays that consist
>> of injecting mice with tissue from the infected animals
>> and waiting for them to develop disease. This testing
>> may take at least 2 to 3 years to complete.
>
>
>
> this was some 3+ years ago, and the damn testing has not
> even started yet in mice???
>
> let's look further;
>
> Imported
> Belgium/Netherlands
> Sheep Test Results
> The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and
> Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced
> that 2 sheep from a flock of 125 which were
> confiscated in March of 2001 from a farm in Vermont
> have tested positive for an atypical undifferentiated
> transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).
> TSEs are a class of degenerative neurological
> diseases that are characterized by a very long
> incubation period and a 100-percent mortality rate.
> Two of the better known varieties of TSEs are bovine
> spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and
> scrapie in sheep.
> Additional tests will be conducted to determine
> exactly what TSE the animals have—BSE or scrapie.
> These tests involve the use of bioassays that consist
> of injecting mice with tissue from the infected animals
> and waiting for them to develop disease. This testing
> may take at least 2 to 3 years to complete.
> This flock of 125 sheep was confiscated in March
> 2001 after 4 animals from an associated flock
> tested positive for an atypical TSE of foreign origin.
> In all, APHIS acquired 380 sheep from a total of
> three flocks. All of the animals were humanely euthanized,
> sampled, and disposed. The animals did not
> enter the animal or human food supply.
> The decision to confiscate the sheep was made
> after four sheep from one the of the flocks tested
> positive for an atypical undifferentiated TSE of foreign
> origin in July 2000. On July 14, 2000, USDA issued
> a declaration of emergency and extraordinary
> emergency to acquire the sheep.
> The first flock of 21 sheep were voluntarily sold
> to USDA on July 14, 2000. Those animals tested
> negative for a TSE.
> The owners of the other two flocks contested
> USDA’s action. A federal district court judge ruled in
> favor of USDA based on the merits of the case. The
> flock owners appealed to the Second Circuit Court
> requesting a stay, which was denied. After the
> request for a stay was denied, the flocks were confiscated
> by USDA in March 2001.
> The second flock of 234 animals was confiscated
> on March 21, 2001. Testing for TSEs is ongoing for
> this flock. The third flock of 125 sheep was confiscated
> on March 23, 2001.
> Background
> APHIS’ mission is to “Protect American
> Agriculture.” As part of that mission APHIS regulates
> the importation of animals and works with U.S. producers
> to eradicate animal diseases. To improve the
> genetic base of the domestic sheep population or to
> gain access to breeds not commonly found in the
> United States, there was a brief window of time in
> 1996 when USDA allowed the importation of sheep
> from certain countries. In August and November
> 1996, two importations of sheep from Belgium
> occurred. The sheep were primarily East Friesian
> milk sheep which originated from both Belgium and
> the Netherlands. A total of 65 sheep were imported.
> These sheep were used for milk production; milk from
> these sheep was used to produce cheese that was
> sold locally and nationally.
> This brief import window was shut in late 1996
> after published research indicated that sheep that
> were orally infected with BSE had a wider tissue
> distribution of the agent than cattle with BSE. This
> raised the possibility that if sheep were naturally
> infected with BSE the disease may spread from one
> sheep to another.
> In late 1997, both Belgium and the Netherlands
> reported their first cases of BSE in native cattle. In
> 1998, the European Union’s Scientific Steering
> Committee issued an opinion that stated it is highly
> likely that European sheep were exposed to feed
> contaminated with the BSE agent. Based on these
> reports, the state of Vermont, in consultation with
> APHIS, imposed a quarantine on these sheep in
> October 1998. The two flocks of sheep and their
> progeny were prohibited, by the State quarantine,
> from entering either the human food or animal feed
> chains or being sold for breeding purposes.
> Subsequent to the quarantine, APHIS obtained
> information that the flocks of origin had been fed concentrates
> prepared at local mills. This practice has
> been shown as the most likely route of BSE exposure
> for the infected cattle in Belgium.
> If any of the quarantined sheep were to be culled
> or died, tissues from animals greater than 6 months
> of age were collected for diagnostic purposes and the
> carcasses were incinerated at APHIS’ expense.
> Based on four animals from one flock testing positive
> for an atypical undifferentiated TSE, USDA determined
> that an emergency and extraordinary
> emergency existed in Vermont. These declarations,
> which were effective July 14, 2000, provided funds
> and the authority to seize and dispose of these
> sheep.
> Factsheet
> Veterinary Services April 2002
> APHIS
> The declaration of emergency provides authority
> for USDA to seize and destroy the sheep and
> authorizes payment of fair market value for the sheep.
> On October, 28, 2000, Congress provided the USDA
> with additional authority and funding ($2.4 million) to
> compensate the owners for economic losses incurred
> due to seizure and destruction of the Vermont sheep.
> This was in addition to fair market value funds that
> would have been provided for the sheep. This additional
> funding, which was available only if the sheep
> were destroyed on or before November 17, 2000, was
> declined by the owners. The owners of the other two
> flocks contested USDA’s action. A federal district
> court judge ruled in favor of USDA based on the merits
> of the case. The flock owners appealed to the
> Second Circuit Court requesting a stay, which was
> denied.
> TSE Testing
> Tissues from the sheep have been subjected to
> three tests; histopathology, immuno-histochemistry,
> and Western-blot.
> Histopathology examines brain tissue for
> microscopic changes indicative of a TSE. Immunohistochemistry
> examines the brain tissue for the
> abnormal prion protein, which is a marker for TSE
> disease. The Western-blot test also detects the
> abnormal form of prion protein in the brain tissue. All
> of these are recognized as official tests by APHIS.
> The abnormal prion protein was detected by the
> Western-blot test in all of the sheep that have tested
> positive for a TSE in these groups of animals. The
> method used for this test has been published in literature
> and is an accepted methodology. The tissue samples
> were from the obex, which is the best location in
> the brain to find the abnormal form of the prion protein
> (an indicator of TSE infection) if it is present.
> The Western-blot test however cannot differentiate
> between scrapie and BSE. The only known validated
> method to differentiate between these two diseases
> requires a series of mouse bioassay systems, which
> take at least 2–3 years for completion.
> The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination
> in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national
> origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual
> orientation,
> or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to
> all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative
> means for communication of program information (Braille, large
> print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at
> (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD).
> To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of
> Civil Rights, Room 326–W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence
> Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410 or call (202) 720–5964
> (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and
> employer.
> Safeguarding American Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection
> Service • United States Department of Agriculture •
>
>
http://cofcs66.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/fsheet_faq_notice/fs_ahvtsheeptr.pdf
>
>
> Q’s & A’s Regarding
> Vermont Sheep Test
> Results
> Q: What are the most recent developments concerning
> the sheep imported from Belgium and the
> Netherlands to Vermont that were confiscated last
> year?
> A: Two sheep from a flock of 125 that were confiscated
> in March of 2001 from a farm in Vermont have
> tested positive for an atypical undifferentiated transmissible
> spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). In all,
> the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) acquired
> 380 sheep from a total of three flocks. All of the animals
> were humanely euthanized, sampled, and disposed.
> These animals did not enter the animal or
> human food supply.
> Q: What do these tests mean?
> A: Tissues from the sheep have been subjected to
> three tests; histopathology, immunohistochemistry,
> and Western-blot.
> Histopathology examines brain tissue for microscopic
> changes indicative of a TSE.
> Immunohistochemistry examines the brain tissue for
> the abnormal prion protein which is a marker for TSE
> disease. The Western-blot test also detects the
> abnormal form of prion protein in the brain tissue. All
> of these are recognized as official tests by USDA’s
> Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
> The abnormal prion protein was detected by the
> Western-blot test in all of the sheep that have tested
> positive for a TSE in these groups of animals. The
> method used for this test has been published in literature
> and is an accepted methodology. The tissue
> samples were from the obex, which is the best location
> in the brain to find the abnormal form of the prion
> protein (an indicator of TSE infection) if it is present.
> The Western-blot test however cannot differentiate
> between scrapie and BSE. The only known
> validated method to differentiate between these two
> diseases requires a mouse bioassay system, which
> takes at least 2-3 years for completion.
> Q: Will tests to strain-type this TSE be
> conducted?
> A: Yes. Additional tests will be conducted to determine
> exactly what TSE the animals have—BSE or
> scrapie. These tests involve the use of bioassays
> that consist of injecting mice with tissue from the
> infected animals and waiting for them to develop disease.
> This testing may take at least 2 to 3 years to
> complete.
> Q:Why did the USDA acquire three flocks of
> sheep in Vermont?
> A: APHIS regulates the importation of foreign animals
> and works with U.S. producers to contain and
> eradicate animal disease. On July 10, 2000, several
> sheep associated with this flock of 125 tested positive
> for a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
> (TSE). In all, APHIS has acquired 380 sheep from a
> total of three flocks. All of the animals were humanely
> euthanized, sampled, and disposed. The animals did
> not enter the animal or human food
> supply. USDA acquired these sheep to prevent the
> spread of a TSE to other livestock.
> Q: What threat did these sheep pose?
> A: TSEs, a class of diseases, can hide in animals for
> a long time before the animals show signs of illness.
> TSEs are always fatal. Also, the type of TSE that
> was present in the Vermont sheep has not been
> determined. While it could have been the kind that
> affects only sheep, they could also have been carrying
> the TSE that affects cattle.
> Q: Where did these sheep come from?
> A: Two shipments of sheep were imported into the
> United States. These shipments included primarily
> East Friesian milk sheep originating from both
> Belgium and the Netherlands. A total of 65 sheep
> were imported. The imported sheep were originally
> consigned to two farms in Vermont. These sheep
> were in milk production flocks since their import, and
> at the time USDA acquired them were between 4-5
> years of age. Most of the original sheep imports bore
> offspring. Since the sheep entered the United States,
> USDA tracked the movements of the original sheep
> and their progeny. All of the imported sheep and
> their offspring were accounted for.
> Q:Why did USDA allow importation of these
> animals?
> A: In the early 1990’s, there was significant interest
> from various sources in obtaining both live sheep and
> germplasm from overseas. This was intended either
> to improve the genetic base of the domestic sheep
> population or to gain access to breeds not commonly
> found in the United States. USDA-APHIS evaluated
> the situation and came to the conclusion that sheep
> Factsheet
> Veterinary Services April 2002
> APHIS
> could be imported from certain countries with various
> restrictions that would reduce the risk of disease
> transmission. After this conclusion, there was a brief
> window of time in 1996 when imports were allowed
> from certain countries. This window was closed in
> late 1996, after information was published that outlined
> both the experimental transmission of BSE to
> sheep via oral inoculation and a wider tissue distribution
> of the agent than previously established.
> Q:Why was USDA concerned about the sheep
> imports?
> A: In 1993, the first indications about bovine
> spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infectivity in experimentally
> inoculated sheep were published. In 1996,
> additional research demonstrating wider tissue distribution
> of the agent was published. In late 1997, both
> Belgium and the Netherlands reported their first cases
> of BSE in native cattle. Subsequent to these findings,
> the European Union’s Scientific Steering Committee
> (SSC) issued an opinion in 1998 that stated it is likely
> that European sheep were exposed to feed contaminated
> with the BSE agent. The combination of all of
> these factors led USDA to the conclusion that the
> sheep in Vermont could possibly have been exposed
> to BSE while in Europe and therefore, as a precaution,
> the decision was made by the State of Vermont
> at the request of APHIS to quarantine them.
> Subsequent to the quarantine, APHIS obtained information
> that the flocks of origin had been fed concentrates
> prepared at local mills. This practice has been
> shown as the most likely route of BSE exposure for
> the infected cattle in Belgium.
> Q: How did USDA determine that the original four
> animals had a TSE?
> A: Each of the sheep that tested positive for a TSE
> underwent four separate tests. The first two tests
> were conducted in June 1999. The first of these was
> histopathology. Histopathology examines the brain of
> the subject for microscopic changes. The sheep tested
> did show some changes indicative of a degenerative
> neurological condition, but the changes were not
> diagnostic for a TSE. The second test in June 1999
> was the immunohistochemistry. This test examined
> sections of the brain of the subject for the abnormal
> prion proteins that are an indicator of TSE infection.
> No abnormal prion protein was detected in this test.
> The third and fourth tests were conducted in June and
> July of 2000. The third, the Western-blot test, is
> another method of detecting the abnormal form of
> prion proteins in the brain tissue of a test subject.
> Abnormal prion protein was detected by this method
> in four of the sheep. Thus, the sheep tested positive
> for a TSE. The fourth test, capillary electrophoresis,
> detects the presence of abnormal prion protein in the
> blood of a subject. In this case, the same four sheep
> that tested positive for the Western-blot test also were
> positive with the capillary electrophoresis test.
> However, this test is still considered to be experimental;
> therefore, the USDA actions were not based on
> these test results.
> Q:Was more testing needed to be sure of the
> original TSE results?
> A: The test that was done —Western-blot analysis—
> is an approved test authorized by APHIS, and it was
> done at a USDA-cooperating laboratory. The method
> used for this test has been published in literature and
> is an accepted methodology. The tissue samples
> were from the best location in the brain to find PrPres
> (an indicator of TSE infection) if it is present.
> Q: If the sheep were in the country since 1996,
> why did USDA wait so long to take action?
> A: The flocks were placed under quarantine due to
> the possibility of exposure to BSE that could have
> occurred prior to their importation. The quarantine
> allowed for increased monitoring and surveillance of
> these animals. Although many animals had been
> examined from these flocks prior to this date, there
> had not been any definitive evidence of a TSE agent.
> USDA had been trying to negotiate with the flock owners
> to voluntarily sell the sheep to the USDA so that
> the risk could be removed. Without the definite TSE
> agent evidence, the USDA did not have authority to
> move forward.
> During this monitoring process, four sheep tested
> positive for an atypical TSE of foreign origin in July of
> 2000, triggering a USDA action to acquire the sheep.
> However, the owners of two of the flocks contested
> USDA’s action. A Federal district court judge ruled in
> favor of USDA based on the merits of the case. The
> flock owners appealed to the Second Circuit Court
> requesting a stay, which was denied. After the
> request for a stay was denied, the flocks were confiscated
> by USDA in March 2001.
> Q: How did USDA dispose of the sheep?
> A: USDA euthanized the sheep in a humane manner,
> took samples for further diagnostic studies, and incinerated
> their remains. No tissues entered either the
> human or animal food chain.
> Q: What is the difference between BSE in sheep
> and scrapie?
> A: Both BSE and scrapie are TSEs. TSEs are forms
> of progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect
> both humans and animals and are caused by similar
> uncharacterized agents that generally produce
> spongiform changes in the brain. In addition to BSE
> and scrapie, other examples of TSEs include: transmissible
> mink encephalopathy; feline spongiform
> encephalopathy; chronic wasting disease of mule
> deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, and elk; and
> in humans, kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,
> Gerstmann-Straussler syndrome, fatal familial insomnia,
> and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
> The common characteristics of the TSEs are long
> incubation periods of months to years, the presence
> of scrapie-associated fibrils in the brain, and the ability
> to transmit the disease to laboratory animals by an
> injection into the brain of brain tissue from the
> diseased animal.
> Scrapie was first recognized as a disease in
> sheep in Europe more than 250 years ago. It was first
> diagnosed in U.S. sheep in 1947. Scrapie is not
> known to be a human pathogen. BSE was first
> recognized in Great Britain in 1986 and has been
> considered primarily a disease of cattle. BSE has not
> been diagnosed in native cattle outside of Europe.
> There are various scientific hypotheses concerning
> the origin of BSE. BSE is thought to be the most likely
> cause of vCJD, which is a fatal human disease.
> There have been more than 117 vCJD cases in the
> UK, 5 in France, and 1 in the Republic of Ireland.
> BSE can be orally transmitted to sheep with as
> little as one-half gram of infected brain tissue. Sheep
> infected with BSE showed the same signs as scrapie
> and routine tests cannot differentiate between the two.
> There is one method of distinguishing between
> scrapie and BSE in the same species. This method
> involves conducting bioassay studies via the inoculation
> of infected material into mice. These mouse
> bioassay studies have been done to identify both BSE
> in cattle and strains of scrapie in sheep. When these
> studies were done on brain material from sheep
> experimentally infected with BSE, the study demonstrated
> that the agent was similar to the BSE agent as
> identified in cattle rather than the scrapie agents identified
> from sheep. BSE has not been diagnosed as a
> natural disease in sheep to date. However, it must be
> pointed out that the studies to differentiate between
> scrapie and BSE take years and not many samples
> have been completed.
> Q: What causes TSE?
> A: Little is known about the actual agent that causes
> TSEs. So far, scientists know that the TSE agent is
> smaller than most viral particles. It is highly resistant
> to heat, ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, and common
> disinfectants that normally stop viruses or kill
> bacteria. Also, the agent does not cause the host’s
> immune system to create detectable antibodies. The
> TSE agent has not yet been observed under a microscope.
> Three main theories on the nature of the
> agent have been proposed: an unconventional virus;
> a prion or a partially protease-resistant protein that is
> rebuilt into an abnormal prion; an incomplete virus
> (i.e., a small piece of DNA) that protects itself by
> using a host protein (a virino). Currently, the abnormal
> prion theory has gained more acceptance in the
> scientific community.
> Q: Can BSE infect sheep?
> A: BSE has been transmitted experimentally to sheep
> through the feeding of small amounts (0.5 g) of infected
> cattle brain. This indicates a theoretical possibility
> that some sheep could have contracted BSE through
> the consumption of contaminated feed. Investigations
> on the feeding practices of sheep in Europe found that
> it was common practice in some countries to feed
> sheep meat and bone meal. Because continental
> Europe imported significant amounts of BSE-contaminated
> meat and bone meal from the United Kingdom,
> sheep in the European Union were most likely
> exposed to the BSE agent. Defining the natural
> occurrence of BSE in native European sheep will
> most likely take 2–3 years. BSE in sheep cannot be
> differentiated from scrapie though routine methods of
> diagnosis (current differentiation a mouse bioassay
> system and takes 2–3 years). BSE in sheep appears
> to cause infectivity in more tissues than BSE in cattle
> and may spread from one sheep to another, unlike
> BSE in cattle. If BSE occurs naturally in sheep and
> behaves like scrapie (i.e., transmits laterally), feed
> bans will not prevent the spread of disease.
> Q: Have natural cases of BSE in sheep been
> detected in any country?
> A: Currently, there have not been any naturally occurring
> cases of BSE in sheep reported in any country.
> However, testing to differentiate between scrapie and
> BSE in sheep has not been done routinely. Due to
> the length of time required for the differentiation
> studies, only a small number of samples have been
> completed. Some work has been started in Europe to
> determine if any of the recent cases diagnosed as
> scrapie could actually be BSE, but this will take some
> time. The definitive test to differentiate is a mouse
> bioassay system that takes several years to complete.
> Q: Do the sheep imported to the United States in
> 1996 have scrapie or BSE?
> A: There is no simple laboratory test that can
> definitively distinguish between BSE and scrapie in
> animals. Mouse inoculation studies, which take 2 or
> more years for completion, are necessary to define
> the disease agent. USDA will undertake such studies
> on samples from these sheep.
> Q: If the diseases look the same, how do we know
> if the U.S. sheep population has scrapie or BSE?
> A: We have no evidence of BSE in either our sheep
> or cattle populations. BSE would have to have been
> introduced into our sheep population through imports.
> Import restrictions based on both scrapie and BSE
> have limited the possibility of such exposure. The
> importation of sheep from countries affected with
> scrapie have been prohibited since a scrapie eradication
> program was started in the United States in 1952.
> Exceptions to this policy have been for Australia and
> New Zealand, countries known to be free of TSE,
> Canada, a country with a similar animal health status
> as our own, and animals for a research project for the
> brief period of time in 1996, when the policy was
> changed. Import restrictions due to BSE took effect in
> 1989, and BSE was not known to exist prior to 1986.
> Ten years of active surveillance of U.S. cattle has
> shown no evidence of BSE. The cattle population can
> be used as the best indicator of the possible presence
> of BSE in the United States, as this is the same
> species in which the disease naturally occurs. Our
> surveillance system in cattle includes a system of
> reporting from diagnostic laboratories, field investigations
> of central nervous system (CNS) disorders,
> testing of rabies-negative animals from public health
> laboratories, testing of CNS-condemned cases
> reported by the Food Safety and Inspection Service
> (FSIS), testing of non-ambulatory cattle and adult
> cattle dying on farms from unknown causes.
> Q: If there is a possibility that the imported sheep
> have scrapie, why were sheep destroyed?
> A: Prior to the importation of these animals, efforts
> were made to determine that they were free of
> scrapie. After importation we received information
> that the flocks where the sheep originated in Belgium
> and the Netherlands may not have been monitored as
> closely for scrapie as previously indicated. In
> addition, enrollment in the Scrapie Flock Certification
> Program was required to ensure that monitoring continued
> for an extended period of time.
> Q: What assurances do we have for the American
> public to protect their health?
> A: The USDA policy regarding to BSE has been
> proactive and preventative. APHIS has taken
> measures in surveillance, prevention, education, and
> response to protect animal and public health. For
> example, import restrictions have been in place since
> 1989 and active surveillance efforts began in 1990.
> APHIS actively works with State and Federal agencies,
> including FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control
> (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and
> the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and
> stakeholders to assure we are taking the proper
> actions in response to changing knowledge and information
> concerning BSE. Additional information on
> public health issues can be provided by the following
> agencies: FSIS, FDA, and CDC. The CDC can provide
> details about surveillance efforts for vCJD. For
> further information on APHIS prevention, surveillance
> and response activities for BSE please see
> www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/bse.
> Q: Is BSE in sheep a risk to humans?
> A: The research on BSE in sheep is too new to provide
> an answer to this question.
> Q:Were meat products from these animals sold
> for human or animal consumption?
> A: No meat from the four sheep that tested positive in
> 2000 for abnormal prions was ever sold.
> Approximately 28 lambs went to slaughter in 1997
> and another 28 lambs went to slaughter in 1998. The
> meat from these lambs, approximately 2,000 lbs., was
> sold to consumers in the Greensboro, VT, area. All
> the lamb meat was sold in the state of Vermont. No
> lamb product was ever exported or sold by mail.
> Q: Do genetics influence or contribute to the
> transmission of TSEs?
> A: Research has demonstrated links between genetic
> variations in sheep and the development of scrapie.
> Genetic variations among different breeds of sheep
> may play a role in whether sheep will become infected
> with scrapie and how quickly clinical signs may
> appear. At this time, it is not known whether genetics
> contributes to the development of BSE in cattle.
> Preliminary research involving BSE in sheep indicate
> that genetics may play a role in the development of
> clinical disease. Research into all of these subjects is
> ongoing.
> Q: What are the testing methods for TSEs?
> A: Histopathology: Bilaterally symmetrical degenerative
> changes are usually seen in the gray matter of
> the brain stem when a TSE is present. These
> changes are characterized by vacuolation or microcavitation
> of nerve cells in the brain stem nuclei. The
> neural perikarya and axons of certain brain stem
> nuclei contain intracytoplasmic vacuoles of various
> sizes, giving the impression of a spongy brain.
> Hypertrophy of astrocytes (astrocytosis) often accompanies
> the vacuolation.
> Electron Microscopy: A TSE diagnosis may also be
> made when scrapie-associated fibrils (SAF) are
> detected using negative stain electron microscopy.
> Supplemental tests: Supplemental tests are available
> to enhance the diagnostic capabilities for TSEs.
> Research shows the partially protease-resistant form
> of the prion protein (PrPres) is found in the brain of
> TSE-infected animals. Two tests that have been used
> routinely to detect PrPres in animals showing clinical
> signs of a TSE are immunohistochemistry and a
> Western-blot technique. In the past, if the brain tissue
> was not harvested shortly after the animal’s death,
> autolysis might make it very difficult to confirm a
> diagnosis by histopathology, but these tests permit a
> diagnosis of a TSE based on finding PrPres even if
> the brain has been frozen or if autolysis has occurred.
> Last year, the European Commission published a preliminary
> report on the evaluation of four companies’
> tests for the diagnosis of TSE in cattle brain samples.
> These included a modified Western-blot test
> developed by Prionics A.G. of Switzerland; a chemiluminescent
> ELISA test using a polyclonalanti PrP antibody
> for detection developed by Enfer Technology,
> Ltd., of Ireland; a sandwich immunoassay for PrPres
> developed by Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique
> (CEA) of France; and a two-site noncompetitive
> immunometric procedure using monoclonal antibodies
> and DELFIA technology to generate a signal developed
> by E. G. & G.Wallace, Ltd., of the United
> Kingdom. The Prionics test is currently being used in
> Switzerland to test “fallen stock.” Other countries,
> such as Germany and France, are going to start using
> the Prionics test or one of the other three tests to
> increase surveillance for BSE in cattle.
> A number of tests have been proposed and are in
> the initial process of being validated for the preclinical
> diagnosis of TSEs in sheep. These include 1)
> immunohistochemistry testing of eyelid associated
> lymphoid tissue and tonsil biopsies, 2) use of capillary
> electrophoresis and fluorescent labeled peptides to
> detect PrPres in the blood of animals infected with a
> TSE, and 3) improved Western-blotting techniques
> with very good sensitivity to detect PrPres in blood,
> cerebrospinal fluid, or small pieces of biopsied tissues.
> Agent Isolation: As the agents that cause TSEs have
> not been fully characterized or isolated, one method
> used to detect infectivity in an animal is to inoculate
> laboratory animals with brain material from the
> affected animal and monitor them for evidence of
> disease. This method may take more than 2 years to
> produce results; hence, it is not practical for routine
> testing. The most common animal used for this type
> of bioassay is the mouse. Another problem with the
> mouse bioassay method when testing cattle or sheep
> samples is that the species barrier may prevent detection
> of low levels of infectivity.
> The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination
> in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national
> origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual
> orientation,
> or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to
> all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative
> means for communication of program information (Braille, large
> print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at
> (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD).
> To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of
> Civil Rights, Room 326–W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence
> Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410 or call (202) 720–5964
> (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and
> employer.
> Safeguarding American Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection
> Service • United States Department of Agriculture •
>
> http://www.llamaresource.com/LR/acrobat/APHIS/APHIS.vtsheepherd.pdf
>
>
> NEWS UPDATES
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> USDA continues testing Vermont sheep
>
> The Department of Agriculture recently announced that tests have
> confirmed that two of the 125 sheep confiscated from a Vermont farm last
> year tested positive for an atypical undifferentiated transmissible
> spongiform encephalopathy of foreign origin.
>
> The flock of 125 sheep was confiscated in March 2001 after four related
> animals from another flock tested positive for TSE in July 2000. All the
> sheep were the progeny of 65 sheep imported from Belgium and the
> Netherlands in 1996.
>
> "These tests confirm our previous conclusions were correct and that we
> took the appropriate preventative actions in confiscating these
> animals," said Bobby Acord, administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant
> Health Inspection Service. "USDA's actions to confiscate, sample, and
> destroy these sheep were on target. As a result of our vigilance, none
> of these animals entered the animal or human food supply."
>
> The agency is conducting additional tests to determine the type of TSE
> in these sheep. Agency officials said those tests could take two to
> three years to complete.
>
> Three Vermont flocks, mostly East Friesian milk sheep imported from
> Belgium and the Netherlands in 1996, were quarantined in 1998 after the
> European Union's Scientific Steering Committee declared it was highly
> likely that European sheep had been exposed to BSE-contaminated feed.
> The sheep had been closely monitored since their arrival in the United
> States as part of the USDA's scrapie control efforts.
>
> After four sheep from the flocks tested positive for a TSE in July 2000,
> the USDA took measures to purchase and euthanatize all three flocks. The
> owner of one flock of 21 sheep sold them to the USDA voluntarily;
> however, owners of the other two flocks—which, combined, totaled more
> than 350 sheep—took legal action to stop the USDA.
>
> A federal court judge ruled in favor of the USDA, and the Second Circuit
> Court denied the flock owners' appeal for a stay. In March 2001, the
> USDA confiscated the sheep and transported them to the agency's National
> Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa where they were
> euthanatized and tissues samples were collected.
>
> "Our goal continues to be to prevent, detect, and eradicate foreign
> animal diseases to protect American agriculture, natural resources, and
> consumers," Acord said. "We will continue to utilize the scientific
> results of these and other tests conducted during the last several years
> to strengthen our extensive surveillance, monitoring and prevention
> efforts."
>
> For more information, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/tse/index.html
> .
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/jul02/020701n.asp


Don't eat sheep cheese, public told

July 19, 2000

By JOHN DILLON and STEFAN HARD

Staff Writers

WARREN - State health officials are warning the public not to eat cheese
made from the milk of sheep the federal government claims are infected
with a form of mad cow disease.

Health Commissioner Dr. Jan Carney issued the warning Tuesday after
consulting with the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta about
the safety of milk from the infected animals.

The Health Department warning is the latest move in an ongoing battle
over the fate of 376 sheep on two Vermont farms. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture last week announced it would seize and destroy the animals
because a test had shown four were infected with a form of transmissible
spongiform encephalopathy, or TSE.

TSE is a class of degenerative, always fatal, brain diseases that
includes mad cow disease, a mysterious ailment that ravaged the British
beef industry and led to 53 deaths in the United Kingdom. The USDA is
concerned that the Vermont sheep or their forebears were exposed to the
disease before they were imported from Europe in the mid-1990s.

Federal officials had maintained until Monday that the cheese made from
the Vermont sheep's milk was safe to consume. However, the CDC has now
told Carney there is a risk that humans could contract the disease from
eating the cheese, she said.

Carney noted, however, that the risk is very slight because studies have
not shown that people got the illness through eating dairy products
during an outbreak of mad cow disease in the United Kingdom.

"The emphasis is on the word precaution," Carney said. The CDC
"characterized the risk (of eating the cheese) as theoretical, meaning
to date no one has ever become ill from eating milk or milk products
from cows exposed" to the disease.

The Health Department warning applies to cheese sold under the name
Three Shepherds of the Mad River Valley and Northeast Kingdom Sheep Milk
Cheese.

Carney said officials - despite Tuesday's warning - are not ordering the
cheese be taken off store shelves.

"As of today, there is no recall," she said. "This is intended as a
recommendation for the public."

At the Warren farm where the Three Shepherds cheese is made, owners
Larry and Linda Faillace handed out cheese to friends and neighbors
Tuesday. The Faillaces maintain the cheese is safe to eat and are
considering going to court to block the federal seizure of their flock.

"This (Health Department warning) is just another example of
pseudo-science. It's another example of them trying to put us out of
business," Linda Faillace said.

The Faillaces have set up a phone tree that would summon supporters to
their Warren farm within 15 minutes should federal officials arrive to
seize the animals.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official, accompanied by two U.S.
Marshals, served the Faillaces with a seizure order Monday afternoon and
locked up 18 wheels of cheese produced from the sheep's milk.

The Warren couple was cheered Monday night by about 60 people who filled
the upstairs of the Old Schoolhouse in Warren for a rally. A large "Save
Our Sheep" banner stretched across the front of the Old Schoolhouse,
where Roger Hussey moderated an emotional meeting that lasted nearly two
hours.

Linda Faillace told the crowd that "Big Brother" USDA was using "bad
science" to indict their herd of sheep for political reasons, partly to
protect the U.S. beef industry from suspicion that it may be
contaminated with mad cow disease.

Belgian sheep farmer Freddy Michiels supported the Faillaces' theory. He
said the USDA seemed to be acting irrationally and precipitously in the
Faillace case, based on his experience in Belgium where his East
Friesian sheep have been tested repeatedly for forms of mad cow disease.

Michiels is staying with the Faillaces this week to teach cheesemaking
classes, and knows the history of the Faillaces' herd. He said the
animals pose no danger to the public.

However, Dr. Linda Detwiler, a USDA veterinarian dealing with the
Faillace case, said two lab tests have shown the Vermont flock has TSE.
She said the tests are scientifically valid and must be taken seriously.

Detwiler said Tuesday the tests found an abnormal protein used as a
marker that indicates a form of TSE. "This is what prompted this
action," she said. "We actually had a confirmatory test in these animals."

She said the tests cannot differentiate whether the sheep have a form of
scrapie - a fairly common TSE sheep disease - or a version of mad cow
disease. "We can say now there is infection (in the animals)," she said.
"This marker would indicate an infectious agent in sheep."

But Thomas Pringle, an Oregon molecular biologist and TSE expert, said
the USDA should have done a double-blind study - one in which the
samples were not identified - before condemning the sheep. He said
instead the samples were labeled as coming from the controversial
Vermont herd, which could have prejudiced the results.

"This is basic high-school science fair stuff," he said.

Pringle said there would be no harm to the public or to the American
livestock industry if the government waited while the tests on the
Vermont sheep were compared to tissue slides of TSE in British sheep.
But the USDA is rushing, he said, because it wants to impress the
European Union - which has banned imports of U.S. beef - that it is
doing everything possible to curb the spread of mad cow disease.

"From the point of view of the U.S. beef industry, these Vermont sheep
farms had to go. They were pawns in a larger game," he said. "This is
high profile image-buffing to demonstrate our resolve to deal with any
whiff of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in American livestock.
The intended target is not the American consumer. The intended target is
European authorities" who control U.S. beef imports.

In addition to the Warren flock, about 200 sheep owned by Stowe
philanthropist Houghton Freeman is also subject to the seizure order.

Freeman's attorney, Thomas Amidon of Stowe, said he will likely use a
two-fold argument against the seizure. "We will discuss whether the USDA
followed its own rules and regulations, and whether this extraordinary
measure is justified given that it is based on results from one test,"
he said.

© 1999 Rutland Herald

http://www.rutlandherald.com/sheep/leahyjeffords.html


July 19, 2000

Health Alert on Certain Sheep Milk Cheese

Based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the
Vermont Health Department recommends that people not eat two brands of
Vermont sheep milk cheese.

(November 9, 2001: This Health Alert has been lifted.)


http://www.healthyvermonters.info/news.shtml

TSS



Follow Ups:



Post a Followup

Name:
E-mail: (optional)
Subject:

Comments:

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: