Fifth case of BSE suspected

05-05-2003

Czech officials are investigating what may be the country's fifth case of mad-cow disease. A six-year-old milk cow on a farm in the south Moravian town of Dolni Lazany tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE, after she was slaughtered on April 29. According to an Agriculture Ministry official, the infection was found by two rapid tests and the ministry is waiting for a confirmation by the State Veterinary Authority which should come on Tuesday or Wednesday. Four cows of similar age in the 70-strong herd and one descendant of the infected cow will be slaughtered as a precautionary measure. Among the country's previous BSE cases, two were reported last year and two in 2000.

Scientists have linked BSE to the human brain-wasting variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, which has killed about 100 people in western Europe in the past decade. No proven case of the human form of the disease has been recorded in the Czech Republic. BSE, believed to originate from cattle feed, has also been found in several animals in neighbouring Poland and Slovakia.