News last update:6 Aug 2012

Ireland sees drop in BSE cases

There has been a dramatic fall in the number of BSE detections in Irish cattle. Niine cases have been found since the beginning of the year, compared to 41 cases in 2006.

In 2005, 69 cases of BSE were recorded, and in 2004 there were 126 cases. The highest annual total occurred in 2002, when there were 333 confirmed cases of the disease, but this fell to 182 cases in 2003.

Scientists had predicted a fall in the number of infected animals when the sub-set of older cows, which may have been exposed to contaminated cattle feed, moved through the system.

Meat and bone meal
The most recent cases found here have been in these older animals, which may have been fed contaminated meat and bonemeal. Meat and bonemeal was banned from cattle feed in the 1980s but was used in pig and poultry feed up to 2000.

It was discovered then that contamination of cattle feed had been taking place in mills and compounding plants. The segregation of the manufacture of cattle from pig and poultry rations and the total ban on feeding meat and bonemeal to pigs and poultry in 2000 has led to a decline in the disease here and in Britain, where it was first identified in the mid-1980s.

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