December 04, 2003



BSE Cases in Spain increase By Nearly 30% in 2003

In 2003, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) cases increased by nearly 30% in Spain, a veterinary official announced Tuesday.


Juan Badiola, Director of Spain's National Center of BSE, said the most affected regions were in the northwest of the country.


Badiola, also President of the General Council of Veterinary Schools, said a total of 127 cases were reported last year. The infected number was expected to soar to 150 or 155 this year.


The number of cases had risen because most of the affected animals were born in 1996-1998, and were now beginning to show symptoms of the disease, said Badiola.


He pointed out that the first case of mad cow disease in Spain emerged in late 2000 when feed containing animal parts was still being used. Numbers had shown an upward trend and this would continue until 2005 as in other European countries.


In view of the situation, Badiola called for patience, and vigilance and control programs in Spain, as in the rest of Europe, in efforts to prevent the infected animals entering the food chain.


But Badiola did not rule out the worst possibility that the outbreak of the disease would reach a peak in 2005-2006, and he hoped it would be eradicated before 2015.


In the 1980s, mad cow disease erupted in Britain, and British beef was banned in Europe in 1990. The disease then spread to Ireland, Switzerland, France and other European countries.


The disease has its equivalent among humans who eat contaminated animal food.

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