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

From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: POSSIBLE BSE IN A 1990 UK GOAT SAMPLE (no hurry though)
Date: February 8, 2005 at 3:39 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: POSSIBLE BSE IN A 1990 UK GOAT SAMPLE (no hurry though) posted by TSS on February 8, 2005 at 8:47 am:

British goat may have harboured BSE

* 18:34 08 February 2005
* news service
* Debora MacKenzie

A British goat which died in 1990 may have had BSE, UK government
officials revealed on Tuesday. The discovery means the infection may
have circulated in goats in the past, and may even be circulating at low
levels today.

This follows the recent disclosure of the first natural case of BSE to
be found in a goat - a French animal that died in 2002. New Scientist
has learned that the British goat was discovered as a result of the
French case, as UK government scientists prepared for the increased
testing of goats after the discovery.

It has long been assumed that sheep and goats may have been exposed to
BSE in feed made from infected cattle. But unlike cattle, both creatures
can transmit such infections between individuals, which might have kept
the disease circulating after infected feed was banned.

BSE in sheep and goats would also be hard to spot, as both can naturally
develop a similar disease called scrapie which has the same symptoms,
although it is not thought to pose a risk to human consumers. And,
unlike cattle, sheep experimentally infected with BSE carry the
infectious prion in muscle meat, so the infection in sheep and goats
could pose more of a risk to consumers.

For these reasons European Union countries have been testing sheep and
goats for BSE since 2002. These tests discovered the infected French goat.

Telling the difference

"We were involved in helping evaluate the French data in December," says
Danny Matthews of the UK's Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the EU
reference lab for BSE. It was clear that the EU would probably ask for
increased testing in goats as a result, he says.

In fact, from February, 80% of healthy slaughtered goats over the age of
18 months, plus "high risk" goats such as those found dead or unable to
stand, should be tested, officials have just agreed. Three different
test methods - called western blot, ELISA and immunohistochemistry (IHC)
- will be used to distinguish scrapie from BSE.

"We haven't had to test many goats in the UK," says Matthews. "But we
thought we should test our current IHC on goat brain to make sure it
distinguishes BSE." Besides goats and sheep experimentally infected with
scrapie or BSE, they tested two brain samples from goats thought to have
died of scrapie.

One of them gave an IHC result that looked like BSE. "We can't do the
other two tests as we processed all the tissue we had from that animal
for IHC," says Matthews. But the team will nevertheless attempt to
extract enough tissue from the IHC test material to do the definitive
BSE test. This involves injecting tissue into mouse brain to see if BSE
develops. But that will not yield results for two years.

"What is important now is not what happened back in 1990, but whether
the infection is still circulating in goats," notes Matthews.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

E-mail: (optional)


Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: