Mad cow disease detected in Sweden

A suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, has been detected in Sweden, according to agriculture officials.

“A quick test of a 12-year-old cow on a farm in Västmanland county (west of Stockholm) has come back positive for BSE,” the local county government said in a statement.

Final test results were expected back from a laboratory in Britain within the next two weeks, it added.

No clear cases of mad cow disease have ever been found in Sweden, but between 2001 and 2003, 10 quick tests did indicate that the illness had reached the Scandinavian country. Those test results were all later found to be false.

If it turns out the Swedish cow is carrying BSE, Västmanland county pointed out that “this is not an infection that can spread from animal to animal. The illness is caused by consumption of BSE-infected animal parts.

This would have happened between four and seven years ago.”

The suspected Swedish case of mad cow disease surfaced on the same day as veterinary authorities revealed that a “highly pathogenic” bird flu strain had been detected in wild ducks in the Scandinavian country, without specifying whether it was the deadly H5N1 strain that can infect humans.

Final test results from the two tufted ducks found dead along Sweden’s southeastern coast are expected back within the next 10 days.

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