USDA confirms first U.S. case of Mad Cow disease in six years

Officials say the case poses 'no risk' to humans

USDA officials on Tuesday confirmed that they have identified the first case of Mad Cow disease in the United States in six years, the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that the discovery poses "no risk" to the U.S. food supply "or to human health." According to Reuters, experts described it as an "atypical" case in which the cow spontaneously contracted the disease, instead of through the feed supply.

According to AP/ABC News, the cow that tested positive for the disease did not display obvious symptoms of the disease, which can include unsteadiness, incoordination, and low milk production. California health and agriculture officials promptly conducted an investigation and assured consumers that the beef supply was safe. They also noted that the cow was not marked for human consumption.

The carcass of the cow is being held under quarantine in a California location and will be destroyed. In the meantime, Reuters reports that USDA is investigating further the case (Tomson et al., Wall Street Journal, 4/24; Rampton, Reuters, 4/25; Cone/Wozniacka, AP/ABC News, 4/25).

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