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Mad Cow Disease Detected in Denmark

February 28, 2000

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ A case of mad cow disease has been reported in northern Denmark, the government said today. The 4-year-old cow was immediately slaughtered while the rest of the 70-head milk herd was put under observation.

``It’s totally incomprehensible. In Denmark, we have done all that is possible to avoid this,″ Lennart Korsgaard Nielsen, chairman of the Danish Livestock and Meat Board, said in an interview with public radio.

The animal, which was born and bred in Denmark, was slaughtered in late January because it suffered from spasms _ symptoms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, said Flemming Thune-Stephensen, a veterinarian with the meat industry’s livestock agency.

The cow’s head was sent to laboratories in Denmark and Britain, which confirmed it had the disease. The result of the test arrived Sunday in Denmark and the case was made public today, Thune-Stephensen said.

``Unfortunately, this is our first real case of mad cow on a Danish-born animal,″ he said.

An infected animal was found in 1992 in Denmark, but it was imported from Britain.

Government officials were not available for comment before an afternoon news conference.

The case was detected in a herd in the northern part of the Jutland peninsula, which has the largest cattle population in Denmark with 364,500 heads in 1998.

Panic swept Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s after British-raised cattle contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy and it was linked to a brain-wasting disease in humans. The European Union ruled in August that British beef was again safe for import, although France has maintained its ban.

Officials in France said today they have detected their eighth case of mad cow disease this year.

The milk cow and its herd of 100 were slaughtered as a precautionary measure, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement. The affected animal was found in the Cotes d’Armor region of Brittany.

Last year, authorities discovered 31 cases of mad cow disease in France.

The Agriculture Ministry has said new cases of mad cow disease will break out in France until 2001, five years after stringent prevention measures were taken against the disease, which has an average incubation period of five years.

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