Mad cow disease case halts Brazil's beef exports to China: What is it?
Mad Cow Disease: Following the suspected case, the site has been inspected and preventively interdicted, the agency informed.
Brazil has halted its beef exports to China after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the northern state of Para, the country's agriculture and livestock ministry said, as per news agency Reuters. The suspension is expected to be temporary but will have a massive impact as China is the main destination for Brazil's beef exports.
"All measures are being taken immediately at each stage of the investigation and the matter is being handled with total transparency to guarantee Brazilian and global consumers the recognized quality of our meat," Brazilian minister Carlos Favaro said.
"The symptomatology indicates that it is the atypical form of the disease, which appears spontaneously in nature, causing no risk of dissemination to the herd and to humans," Para's agricultural defense agency said in a statement.
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What is mad cow disease?
Mad cow disease is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). It is a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease which affects the central nervous system of adult cattle. The infectious agent that causes mad cow disease is an abnormal version of a protein normally found on cell surfaces, called a prion, research has shown. When this protein gets altered, it destroys the nervous system tissue- the brain and spinal cord. Although, the reason for the same is still unknown.
What steps has Brazil taken?
The animal was on a property with 160 head of cattle. Following the suspected case, the site has been inspected and preventively interdicted, the agency informed while samples were sent to the World Organization for Animal Health lab in Canada, to confirm whether it was the classic form of the disease or its "atypical" version.