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Two cases of mad cow disease in Central Greece; animals imported from the Netherlands

A farm in Fthiotida, central Greece, has been placed in quarantine after two cases of mad cow disease were discovered there, almost 13 years since the disease last appeared in Greece.

The cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were found in two dead cows that had been imported from the Netherlands. The animals are thought to be six years old.

According to Greek public television DT, the animals were bought from the Netherlands at the age of two. “The two cows did not die due to BSE but due to pathological issues,” DT reporter said on Tuesday afternoon and added that “authorities investigate all  possible cause for the contamination, including cattle food suppliers and the option that the cows were contaminated before imported to Greece.

Incubation period of the disease can be 30 months to 8 years and the disease can outbreak at the age of five.

Greek Agriculture Ministry said that the farm has been closed off and further tests are being carried out, while a ban on entry and exit of animals and their products from the affected farm has been imposed.

The package of measures issued by the Agriculture Ministry includes also:

1. briefing of the farmer and involved stakeholders for mandatory compliance of all necessary measures to combat the disease.

2.  strengthening and intensification of officials inspections and controls of carcasses in slaughterhouses and compulsorily tests for possible presence of the disease before meat and meat-products are given for consumption.

3. Briefing the European Commission on the cases.

Greek authorities appear reassuring saying that there is no danger for the public health considering the full implementation of the Monitoring,  Control and Eradiction program concerning the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

Authorities emphasize that all meat available for consumption is been previously tested and that the disease is not spread through the consumption of milk. Authorities are trying to find out how the two animals were contaminated.

Speaking to Athens News Agency, the Head of the General Directorate of Veterinary Ministry of Rural Development and Food , Thomas Alexandropoulos , clarified that there is no risk to public health. The unit in Fthiotida had 240 dairy cattle , of which 89 were imported from Holland. The two infections were detected in the cattle imported from that country.

BSE can be transmitted to humans who eat food derived from the infected cows, particularly if it contains nervous tissue. In humans, the disease is known as new variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.

 

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