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BSE on the wane worldwide

Agriculture.com Staff 03/23/2006 @ 11:44am

Cases of Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease" worldwide have dropped by 50% a year over the past three years, according to a statement today from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In 2005, 474 animals died of BSE around the world, compared with 878 in 2004 and 1646 in 2003, and against a peak of several tens of thousands in 1992, according to figures collected by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE).

Five human deaths resulting from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), believed to be the human form of BSE, were reported worldwide in 2005. All of them were in the United Kingdom -- the country most affected by the disease -- where nine deaths were registered in 2004 and 18 in 2003.

"It is quite clear that BSE is declining and that the measures introduced to stop the disease are effective," said Andrew Speedy, an FAO animal production expert. "But further success depends on our continuing to apply those measures worldwide."

Also vital, he said, is a tracking system that allows animals to be identified from birth to shopping basket. This has been adopted across Europe but has yet to be implemented partially or fully in a number of other countries.

Cases of Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease" worldwide have dropped by 50% a year over the past three years, according to a statement today from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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