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From: TSS ()
Subject: Mad cow tests on 29 cattle negative Results are pending on 38 other animals, USDA says
Date: July 10, 2005 at 8:36 am PST

July 10, 2005, 12:41AM

Mad cow tests on 29 cattle negative
Results are pending on 38 other animals, USDA says
By PURVA PATEL
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
RESOURCES

AP file
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns tours a Utah beef processing plant in May.


Video:
Mad cow found in U.S. cow from Texas 6/24

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Multimedia:
• The connection between mad cow disease and humans
(Requires Flash plug-in)

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Phone hot lines:
• USDA meat and poultry hot line: 1-888-674-6854
• Regular updates at 1-866-4USDACO.

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Other:
• USDA news release on BSE finding 6/24
• Active USDA meat recalls
• Overview of the disease

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Video courtesy Associated Press. (Free Real Player required.)

Twenty-nine cattle have tested negative for mad cow disease and will not be tested further, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday.

USDA spokesman Jim Rogers also said Saturday that another 38 animals were being screened for mad cow and that those results are pending. The animals must be killed before they can be screened because officials run tests on their brain samples.

The tests on the 67 cattle are part of the department's ongoing investigation into a recently confirmed case of mad cow disease in a Texas beef cow.

Officials have not released the name of the rancher or the specific location of the Texas ranch where that cow was born and raised. The 67 cattle were from the same herd as the infected cow.

They are so-called cattle of interest, meaning they're siblings, offspring or herd mates born about the same time.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, has been conducting the initial rapid screening tests on the 67 samples, looking for the presence of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

If results of the rapid-screening test come back inconclusive, indicating the possibility of the disease, the animals will be incinerated and two additional types of tests will be conducted on the samples, Rogers said. Animals testing negative will be sent to a landfill, he said.

The additional tests — immunohistochemistry and Western blot — search for an abnormal prion protein in the animal's brain tissue. Positive results would spur more trace-back testing similar to that being conducted now.

Humans who eat infected beef can develop a variant of the brain-wasting mad cow disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Initial screening last year on the 12-year-old Texas Brahma crossbreed that was eventually confirmed as infected was conducted at a Texas A&M laboratory and came back inconclusive. More elaborate testing, immunohistochemistry, also came back negative.

At the time, officials didn't conduct the Western blot test. Later, the USDA's inspector general requested further testing on that cow, and last month Western blot results came back positive.

The USDA has since announced that all rapid-screening tests that come back inconclusive will be subject to the immunohistochemistry and Western blot tests.

The department usually pays fair market value to ranchers whose cattle are destroyed for testing.

purva.patel@chron.com

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3259769

TSS




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