Japan reports positive BSE in preliminary test

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 28, 2005
by WLJ
A cow in northern Japan tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a preliminary examination last Thursday, a Japanese official said. If confirmed, it would be the country's 15th case of the brain-wasting malady.
Preliminary tests on the Holstein cow—already dead when it was brought in from a ranch in Hokkaido prefecture—turned up positive at a dairy health center in Obihiro, said Hokkadio government official Osamu Terada.
Other specifics, including the cow's age, were not disclosed.
Results from more precise testing at a state-run research center north of Tokyo were likely to be released during the first week of March, officials said.
On Feb. 4, Japan confirmed its first human case of BSE following the death of a man with symptoms of the illness. Japanese health authorities have said it was likely the man contracted the disease while living for a month in Britain, where the disease first surfaced in 1989.
Earlier this month, a Japanese government panel took a step toward partially lifting a ban on U.S. beef imports, but the decision still has to be approved by the government.
Tokyo has checked every slaughtered cow before it enters the food supply since 2001, after its first discovery of BSE.
Japan imposed a ban on U.S. beef after the first case of BSE was confirmed in Washington state during December 2003. — WLJ