Goats, now.


Let’s all sing the Doom Song!

From: promed@promed.isid.harvard.edu
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> BSE, goat – France 2002: Conf.
Date: January 28, 2005 5:27:10 PM PST
To: promed-ahead-edr@promedmail.org
Reply-To: promedNOREPLY@promed.isid.harvard.edu

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2005
From: George Robertson
Source: BBC NEWS, 28 Jan 2005 [edited]

‘Mad cow’ disease found in goat
A French goat has tested positive for mad cow disease — the 1st animal in
the world other than a cow to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
[This statement would have been correct if the term “food animal” was used
instead of “animal”; the BSE agent is believed to have crossed the species
barrier and be the common source of transmissible spongiform
encephalopathies (TSEs) in several other species of wild bovidae in zoos
and in species of felidae. – Mod.AS]

The European Commission says further testing will be done to determine
whether the incident is an isolated one.

The animal, which was slaughtered in 2002, was initially thought to have
scrapie, a similar brain-wasting condition sometimes seen in goats. But
British scientists have now confirmed the disease was in fact BSE.

More than 100 people in the UK have died from vCJD (variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease), the human form of BSE, after eating tainted
beef. [The correct UK figures, updated 10 Jan 2005, are: deaths from
definite vCJD 106, deaths from definite or probable vCJD 148.
See 20050111.0095. – Mod.AS]

But the EC stressed on Friday [28 Jan 2005] that precautionary measures put
in place in recent years to protect the human food chain from contaminated
meats meant there was no need for alarm over the latest finding.

Markos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer
Protection, said: “I want to reassure consumers that existing safety
measures in the EU offer a very high level of protection. This case was
discovered thanks to the EU testing system in place in France. The testing
programme has shown us that there is a very low incidence of TSEs in goats
and allowed us to detect suspect animals so that they can be taken out of
the food chain, as was done with this goat and its entire herd.”

UK expert opinion
BSE had not previously been found under natural circumstances in ruminants
other than cattle — although its presence in goats or other ruminants had
been viewed as theoretically possible.

Although some incidences of TSEs in animals such as cats and antelopes have
looked very similar to the BSE strain, there is some debate over whether
these really were mad cow.

In 2001, a study in the UK was thought to have found BSE in sheep. It later
transpired, however, that the scientists working on the research study were
mistakenly looking at samples obtained from cow brains.

The EC now wants to test 200 000 goats in the 25 EU member states over the
next 6 months. The testing would concentrate on countries where cases of
BSE have been reported in cattle in the past, including the UK.

Current testing has already shown there is a low incidence of scrapie in
goats. In the UK, for example, only 2 cases have been confirmed since 1997.
In France, which has a far bigger goat population, just 19 positives were
recorded among 21 000 animals tested in 2003. [For figures during the 1st
semester of 2004, see comment. – Mod.AS]

Across the EU bloc as a whole, there are believed to be more than 11.5
million goats.

The European Commission’s Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal
Health will meet to discuss the case of the French goat and its
implications next week. The French agriculture ministry said the goat came
from the Ardeche region, in southeast France. It was kept in a flock of 300
animals, which were all slaughtered and their carcasses destroyed.

When French research was unable to distinguish the TSE found in the goat
from the BSE strain, samples were sent to the Community Reference
Laboratory (CRL) for TSEs in Weybridge, UK, for its expert opinion. It
confirmed the presence of the BSE strain.

George A. Robertson, Ph.D.
Vice President Science & Technology
An International Association for Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical
Science and Technology
3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1500
Bethesda, MD 20814 USA

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005
From: Joseph Dudley
Source: EU press release IP/05/105, 28 Jan 2005

Case of BSE in a goat confirmed: Commission extends testing programme
A suspected case of BSE in a goat slaughtered in France in 2002 has been
confirmed today by a panel of European scientists:

The European Commission proposes to step up testing to determine whether
this is an isolated incident. Although this is the 1st time that BSE has
been found in a goat under natural conditions, precautionary measures to
protect consumers from this eventuality have been applied in the EU for
several years. However, the level of TSE infection in goats seems to be
extremely low, and any possible risk to consumers is minimal.

The European Commission asked the French authorities to submit their
preliminary findings to the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for TSEs
based in Weybridge, UK. TSEs are transmissible spongiform encephalopathies,
namely BSE affecting cattle and scrapie affecting goats and sheep.

Markos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer
Protection, said “I want to reassure consumers that existing safety
measures in the EU offer a very high level of protection. This case was
discovered thanks to the EU testing system in place in France. The testing
programme has shown us that there is a very low incidence rate of TSEs in
goats and allowed us to detect suspect animals so that they can be taken
out of the food chain, as was done with this goat and its entire herd. I am
proposing to extend testing further to determine whether this is an
isolated incident.”

Existing safety measures
For many years, safety measures have been applied to all farmed ruminants
(cattle, goats, sheep) to offer maximum public health protection in case
BSE in goats was ever confirmed. These safety measures include the ban on
feeding animal proteins in the form of meat-and-bone meal (MBM), the
removal of specified risk materials (i.e. the removal of tissues such as
brain, spinal cord, part of the intestines) from the food and feed chain,
the slaughtering of herds affected by scrapie (a disease of goats and sheep
similar to BSE but not infectious for humans), and a TSE monitoring and
testing programme in all Member States. Over 140 000 goats have been tested
since April 2002, including random testing of healthy animals, sick animals
and those that die on the farm.

Extension of testing regime
Following this confirmation, the Commission is proposing increased testing
for BSE among goats for at least 6 months (200 000 tests of healthy goats
in the EU) to determine whether this is an isolated incident. The extent of
the monitoring programme will be based on the goat population in each
Member State and will focus primarily on Member States where BSE is present
in the cattle population. All confirmed TSE cases will be subjected to a
3-step testing scheme already in use, which will make it possible to
differentiate between scrapie and BSE. These additional measures will be
submitted for Member States approval at the next meeting of the Standing
Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health scheduled on 2-3 Feb 2005.

Does this BSE case indicate a widespread problem?
The conditions that existed when the affected goat was born in 2000 no
longer exist, and available evidence would suggest that even if the
infection still exists in goats, the level would be extremely low. The
feeding of meat-and-bone meal (MBM) to ruminants is generally considered to
be the transmission route of BSE. In January 2001 the existing ban on
feeding MBM to all ruminants was extended to a total ban on feeding MBM to
all farmed animals. Goats in the EU generally only live for a few years,
which means that the majority of goats in the EU today were born after the
total feed ban was put in place. [This statement needs substantiation.
Under optimal conditions, the lifespan of goats (and sheep) will
significantly exceed 10 years. – Mod.AS]

Are goat milk, cheese and meat safe?
The European Food Safety Authority has advised that based on current
scientific knowledge, goat milk and derived products are unlikely to
present any risk of TSE contamination if the milk comes from healthy animals:

Currently, as a precautionary measure and following scientific advice, milk
and meat from goats affected by TSE cannot be used. These rules were in
place before the case of BSE in a goat was discovered. As for cattle and
sheep, specified risk materials (the tissues most likely to carry
infectivity if the disease is present) are also removed from all goats even
if there is no infection detected. While it is not possible to say that
there is absolutely no risk, any potential risk will be mitigated by the
safety measures put in place.

In light of the above, the European Commission advises no change in current
consumption of goat milk, cheese and meat. The European Commission has
asked EFSA to carry out a quantitative risk assessment for goat meat and
goat meat products, which is expected to be ready by July 2005.

Following the findings by a research group in France of a suspected BSE
infection in a goat, the European Commission immediately made the findings
public on 28 Oct 2004. The supporting data were submitted on 5 Nov 2005
[sic, should read 2004], as foreseen by the EU procedure, by the French
authorities to the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for TSEs based in
Weybridge (UK), for an evaluation by an expert panel. The CRL expert panel
reported their findings today:

The infected goat was born in March 2000 and slaughtered in France in
October 2002. The results are only now becoming available, as the series of
confirmatory tests included mouse bioassay (testing on mice), which takes 2
years to complete.

The goat and its herd were disposed of in accordance with EU rules and did
not enter either the food or feed chain, and therefore do not represent a
risk to public health. This goat was detected as part of the EU-wide
surveillance programme designed to detect suspicious TSE strains in small
ruminants, and was the only one in its herd of 300 goats to develop BSE.
Over 140 000 goats have been tested across Europe since April 2002. [See

Joseph Dudley

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005
From: ProMED-mail
Source: EU Food Safety web-site, 28 Jan 2005 [edited]

The TSE Community Reference Laboratory Expert Group On Strains:
Progress report on actions from the meeting on 25 Nov 2004
Report drafted by Marion Simmons and John Spiropoulos using data and
analysis supplied by VLA Weybridge, IAH (NPU) Edinburgh, AFSSA and INRA.

Executive summary [28 Jan 2005]

These investigations have been pursued by the transfer of materials from
experimentally inoculated mice to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and
the Institute for Animal Health, for blind peer review. In addition,
experimental caprine BSE was provided to AFSSA by the IAH for further
western immunoblotting of the suspect sample alongside appropriate controls.

Codes for mouse brain groups were held by a 3rd party (Professor Bostock)
so that all examinations at the VLA and IAH were blinded. Results were
reported to Professor Bostock, who broke the codes and reported the outcome
to the VLA for compilation of this report. The report is therefore compiled
by the VLA on behalf of the Expert Group, and has been agreed to by
Professor Bruce (IAH).

A more comprehensive report of our findings has been provided to the French
scientists who submitted the samples.

Our findings, and interpretation of the western immunoblotting work done at
AFSSA, support the conclusion that the French caprine isolate (CH636) is
likely to contain the BSE strain.


[EU’s TSE monitoring activities during the 1st semester of 2004 yielded the
following data (the most recent available from the EU).

Sheep: 173 572 animals tested, 833 positive, 428 pending.
Goats: 17 294 tested, 47 positive, 52 pending.

The TSE-positive goats, as presented in the table, were detected in France
(26), Greece (12) and Cyprus (8). (One case seems to be missing; see

The total number of adult goats in EU’s 25 member countries is about 9.5
million, compared with 66 million adult sheep. The leading goat-breeding
countries are (millions of adult animals): Greece (3.9), Spain (2.33),
France (1.03), Italy (0.82), Portugal (0.39), Cyprus (0.3) and Netherlands
(0.2). All those countries are known to be scrapie-infected, and all except
Cyprus are BSE-infected. Cyprus is regarded by the EU as GBR III, namely a
country “where the presence of one or more cattle clinically or
pre-clinically infected with the BSE agent is likely”.

A significant increase in number of tested sheep and goats, and intensified
efforts in differentiating scrapie from other TSE’s — especially BSE
— are essential. The possibility that BSE in small ruminants might, like
scrapie be transmitted horizontally, deserves special
investigative attention. – Mod.AS]

[see also:
CJD (new var.) – UK: update 2005 (01) 20050111.0095
TSE, goats – EU: 1st semester, 2004 20050119.0180
BSE, goats – France 2002 (02): susp 20041119.3097
BSE, goats – France 2002 (03): susp 20041211.3279
BSE, goats – France 2002: susp. 20041030.2929
BSE, atypical – France: OIE 20040201.0391
BSE, potential for emergence in sheep 20020106.3180
BSE, potential for emergence in sheep – EU (02) 20020624.4589
BSE, potential for emergence in sheep – EU 20020220.3596
BSE, potential for emergence in sheep – France 20020314.3742
BSE, potential for emergence in sheep: OIE 20020131.3444
BSE? Sheep – USA (Vermont) 20020412.3937
BSE, sheep (model) – UK 20011129.2907
BSE, sheep – UK: contingency plan 20011001.2384
BSE, testing of sheep ongoing – UK 20011019.2574]

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