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WSU's BSE Surveillance Program To Continue

26 April 2007

US - The bovine spongiform encephalopathy surveillance program at Washington State University isn't ceasing operation after all. It will continue for at least another six months and perhaps many more.
It was announced more than a month ago that the lab, established three years ago to test for the prevalence of BSE within the U.S. cattle population, would cease operation. Since then, however, the government has renewed its contract with WSU and labs at seven other locations throughout the country.

Charlie Powell, spokesman for the College of Veterinary Medicine on the WSU campus, said there was no pressure brought to bear to continue testing.

Karen Eggert, spokeswoman with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said all seven labs agreed to continue testing for another six months, but at a reduced level. Under the enhanced BSE testing program, about 80,000 samples a year were analyzed for BSE. Under the revised program, about 40,000 samples will be spread among the seven locations where testing equipment is located.

Eggert said the program will continue as "long as there is a need."

Over the three-year enhanced testing period, more than 46,000 samples were analyzed at WSU, and not one registered positive. The cost of WSU's portion of the surveillance program topped $550,000.

In England, where it was first identified, there were 183,000 confirmed cases of BSE in cattle and 139 definite and probable deaths linked to individuals eating contaminated beef.

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Source: Capital Press

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