Ten years since the last incidence of the mad cow disease in Greece, the Greek authorities have quarantined a farm in Fthiotida, central Greece, after the detection of two new cases.
The new cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were found in two dead cows that had been imported from the Netherlands. It is estimated that the animals were six years old. The Ministry of Agriculture says the farm has been closed off and is going to be subject to further tests.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, is a fatal disease (encephalopathy) in cattle that damages the animal’s central nervous system. BSE possibly originated as a result of cattle being fed meat and bone meal as well as commercial feeds, which may contain ingredients including antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, fertilizers, and protein supplements. BSE can be transmitted to humans who eat food derived from infected cows, particularly if it contains nerve tissue. There is an association between a new human disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and BSE.
The disease first appeared in the 1980s, in the United Kingdom, where animal husbandry units started using feed of animal origin in order to reduce production costs. The first ‘mad cow’ appeared in April 1985, while the first official confirmation of the disease was announced 18 months later, in November 1986.