Canadian mad cow case an uncommon strain

Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:26pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A cow discovered late last year with bovine spongiform encephalopathy was suffering from an atypical strain of the fatal illness, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Wednesday.

The nearly 14-year-old Hereford likely contracted mad cow disease from feed early in its life, since it was born before 1997 when Canada imposed a ban in on mixing protein from rendered cattle or other ruminants in feed, officials said.

The cow lived its entire life on the Alberta farm where it was born and no part of the animal ever entered the human or animal food supply. It was Canada's 11th home-grown case of BSE since 2003.

The cow was found to have suffered from a less common form of BSE that has also been found in Europe, officials said.

The CFIA said that finding may simply reflect science's increasing skill in examining infected animals to determine what form of the disease they have.

The agency is still preparing its final report on a mad cow case discovered in February. That case has sparked interest because the animal was apparently born after the feed ban was imposed.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)