11 April 1997

Home-bred cow is second BSE case in Holland

A SECOND case of BSE has been confirmed in a home-bred cow in Holland.

Yolanda Oudt, agricultural attaché at the Netherlands embassy in London, said the latest case was on a farm in the northern province of Friesland. Like the first case, confirmed at the end of March, the animal was home-bred with no link at all to the UK.

All 70 other cattle in the herd have been slaughtered along with 40 sheep and 10 goats. And all calves from the cow that have moved on to other farms have also been traced and slaughtered.

The brains of all the slaughtered animals will be investigated for signs of BSE. The countrys first case of BSE also involved the slaughter of the entire herd of 110 cows (News, Mar 28). Results from tests on the brains of those animals showed none had any signs of BSE, Ms Oudt said.

The latest case was slaughtered in a local abattoir even though the farmer and his vet had raised concerns that the cow could have the brain disease. After BSE was confirmed the Dutch authorities closed the abattoir and will not allow it to re-open until it is satisfactorily disinfected.

Ms Oudt said closure was necessary because the BSE-infected cows spinal cord had been cut in the slaughterhouse so disinfection was needed for public health reasons.

She said that when the first case was diagnosed the authorities imm-ediately suspected contaminated feed was to blame. But then when none of the other cows in the herd showed any signs of the disease vets began to think that perhaps the one cow was pre-disposed to BSE.

"But now we have a second case on another farm we are very concerned and have to believe that it must be infected feed. But we have not managed to trace any source yet," said Ms Oudt. &#42