One down; one to go.
Further testing determined that the first animal receiving an inclusive result to the rapid test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) did not have the disease, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials announced in a technical briefing this afternoon.
"Using the gold standard of BSE testing, immunohistochemistry, the government has confirmed that the animal did not have BSE," said Jan Lyons, a cattle producer from Manhattan, Kan., and the current president of the National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA). USDA announced on Friday, June 25, 2004, this animal had an inconclusive test result.
USDA and NCBA have both stressed that the negative result is not unexpected.
"As part of USDA's expanded BSE surveillance program, a rapid screening test is used as the first step in a two-part testing process," Lyons explained in an official statement from NCBA. "Because the rapid tests are sensitive, they are subject to occasional inconclusive results that later prove to be negative. It is a little like going through the airport metal detector. We all have had the detector beep on us at least once, but it didn't mean we were carrying a prohibited item. It simply meant more testing was needed.
"The rapid test allows the government to conduct a strong and statistically valid targeted surveillance for BSE," she added.
For more information about BSE, visit the following Web sites:
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cjd/bse_cjd_qa.htm Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
www.fda.gov/cber/bse/bseqa.htm#a1 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)