'Atypical' form of mad cow disease confirmed in Alabama cow

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(AL.com) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed an "atypical" case of bovine spongiform encephalopothy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in an 11-year old beef cow in Alabama but emphasized that the animal never entered the slaughterhouse and "at no time presented a risk to food supply or to human health."

According to a news release from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, the sick animal was discovered during routine surveillance at an Alabama livestock market. The animal died at the market before entering the slaughter channels and samples were sent to a USDA lab in Iowa for confirmation.

The department referred to this case as "atypical," and "a rare and spontaneous incident."

The USDA implemented enhanced surveillance testing programs in 2009 to protect animal and human health, and the cow was discovered through these protocols.

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