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Japan Confirms 10th Mad Cow Disease Case

February 22, 2004

TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese authorities on Sunday confirmed the nation’s 10th case of mad cow disease since the first sick animal was discovered in September 2001.

The Heath Ministry made the announcement a day after saying it suspected the nearly 8-year-old Holstein had the brain-wasting illness.

The dairy cow tested positive for the disease known formally as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, at a slaughterhouse outside Tokyo on Friday and again in a follow-up screening at a national laboratory on Saturday.

Experts were scheduled to review the findings on Sunday but the ministry said in a statement it had bypassed that procedure because the test results were typical for an infected cow.

The animal was slaughtered but its meat and organs had not gone on the market. They will be incinerated, the ministry said.

Sixty other dairy cows at the sick Holstein’s farm were quarantined, it said.

Japan was the first country to find an infected cow outside of Europe, where it has devastated cattle farms.

Under a comprehensive screening system put in place after the outbreak three years ago, Japan tests every animal that is killed before it enters the food supply. Tokyo has also banned the use of meat-and-bone meal in cattle feed, which authorities believe led to the outbreak.

Authorities said they hadn’t determined the cause of the latest case. But the sick animal, born before the ban on meat-and-bone meal in animal feed, was the second to turn up in Kawagawa prefecture, west of Tokyo.

Japan has credited its mad cow surveillance as a necessary, if expensive, precaution. Tokyo has banned American beef imports since the first U.S. mad cow case was discovered in Washington state on Dec. 24, and has demanded that the United States adopt a blanket testing system before Tokyo reopens its market _ the largest in dollar terms for U.S. beef before the ban.

Eating beef from a diseased cow is thought to cause the fatal human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Update hourly