Two sheep tested in Iowa had a brain disease that resembles Mad Cow. The federal department of agriculture today announced results of tests done at the Animal Disease labs in Ames. USDA senior veterinarian Linda Detweiler says the animals had been imported from Europe to Vermont. European authorities then said they’d likely been exposed to the same feed blamed for giving cattle BSE. B-S-E, the so-called “mad cow disease,” has never been found in the U-S but its spread in Europe is blamed on infected cows that are made into animal feed. Detweiler says the Vermont herd was hauled by train across the country a year ago. They were brought to the Iowa lab, killed, examined and destroyed. Of 125, they spared lambs and tested 99, and found two positives. The sheep suffered some kind of brain wasting disease that tests didn’t narrow down…a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, or T-S-E.The tests don’t show what kind so more work will be done with European labs to figure it out. The USDA senior vet says their ailment was NOT mad cow, or scrapie, a sheep disease that the US has worked to make rare. The sheep had been milked to produce cheese, which was sold and eaten, but the vet says that shouldn’t be any health threat. The reason for the long delay in getting test results was the high-level bio-security and building of special confinement for the animals at the lab in Ames.
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