18 April 2001
Researchers link BSE to antelopes

By FWi staff

ANTELOPES imported into south-west England in the 1970s are the most likely source of BSE, claim researchers from New Zealand.

Animals suffering from the disease were brought to UK safari parks, and at some point were put into meat and bonemeal livestock feed, reports the BBC.

Using a computer model, researchers found that first cases arose in areas where safari parks were popular, and noted that the disease has been found in zoo animals.

Early results suggest that it is much less likely that BSE came from scrapie-infected sheep or genetic mutation as is commonly thought.

The researchers are now attempting to discover cases of antelope BSE in the wild to add weight to their theory.