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From: TSS ()
Subject: Inconclusive BSE sample submitted for further testing (updated 20 June 2005)
Date: June 22, 2005 at 10:44 am PST

Inconclusive BSE sample submitted for further testing
(updated 20 June 2005)

A sample from an animal with previously inconclusive test results for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been sent to a reference laboratory in England for further testing. On June 16, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official departed for Weybridge, England to hand-deliver the sample.

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) enhanced surveillance program for BSE began in June 2004, more than 375,000 animals have been tested for BSE using a rapid test. Tests from three of these animals were inconclusive, and samples from these animals were retested using two internationally recognized confirmatory tests for BSE: immunohistochemistry, or IHC; and the SAF immunoblot test, or Western blot test.

All three tested negative using IHC. On Western blot testing, two samples had a negative result, while the third - one that previously had a strong reaction to the rapid test - had a positive result.

Due to these conflicting results, a sample from the reactive animal has been sent to the reference laboratory for BSE in Weybridge, England. Results are expected within 2 weeks.

The animal in question never entered the food or feed supply chain, according to the USDA. Therefore, this additional testing, regardless of the eventual results, will have no public or animal health implications.

More information from the USDA:
Statement providing details of tests to be performed (June 16, 2005)
Statement regarding further analysis of BSE inconclusive test results (June 10, 2005)
Factsheet: June 2005 BSE Test Step by Step (PDF)
BSE Confirmatory Tests (PDF)
BSE: Recent Information

Facts about
BSE: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

This AVMA brochure is designed in an easy to understand question and answer format. It explains what BSE is, how it is diagnosed, and how it can be prevented.

View brochure

For more information about BSE, try these resources from the AVMA:

BSE backgrounder:
Full Text (HTML) | Print Version (PDF)
Public Health Resources: BSE

For Additional Information:

Sharon Curtis Granskog

For Immediate Release

May 6, 2005

Congress Considers Legislation to Ensure Public Health

Schaumburg, IL

— In 2001, the normally pastoral British landscape was transformed into a blazing killing field when the carcasses of millions of sheep and cattle were incinerated to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease. The disease spreads fast and far. It causes affected animals tremendous suffering and it so easily spread that drastic measures must be taken to prevent additional suffering. More than 6 million sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs were in the United Kingdom were affected. Economic losses were estimated in the billions of dollars.

Could it happen here? We hope not. But hope alone will not safeguard animal health, the nation's food supply, public health or the U.S. economy against intentional or accidental bio- and agro-terrorism. An ample supply of well-trained veterinarians will be needed... first responders in cases like these help ensure the health of America's animals and people and the safety of its food supply.

Working to address this pressing need, U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) introduced the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act in the Senate today. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), together with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, is urging Congress to protect the health of animals, that of the American public, and the safety of the U.S. food supply by passing and funding this legislation.

The federal government has not allocated general funding for veterinary medical education in nearly 30 years. Neglect of veterinary medical education threatens not only the national economy but also the lives of U. S. citizens.

"Highly contagious avian influenza, foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease are all naturally occurring threats that have the potential to severely impact animal health and welfare, food safety, and public health, and devastate the United States economy. As first responders, veterinarians are critical to preventing, diagnosing, and controlling biological agents that can be transmitted between animals and human beings," said AVMA President, Bonnie Beaver, DVM, MS. "For example, in 1999, Dr. Tracey McNamara, a veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, connected the deaths of crows at the zoo with the deaths of several people in New York. Her discovery of the West Nile virus in the United States potentially saved hundreds of lives."

The AVMA urges the public to take action by contacting their Senators and demanding funding of the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act. The requested $1.5 billion over 10 years with 75% reserved for existing veterinary colleges will build infrastructure, research laboratories and provide training for veterinary students in public health, food safety, food security, infectious diseases, global health, and environmental quality.

"The present shortage of veterinarians in public practice areas endangers the public health system in the United States," Dr. Beaver said. "We don't want to look back at this opportunity and say, 'We should have taken action."

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