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Mad Cow Disease Reported in Spain

November 22, 2000

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ The government reported Spain’s first case of mad cow disease on Wednesday and said it is investigating a second possible case.

Tests by government veterinarians in the northwest Galicia region revealed a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, late Wednesday morning, Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete said. He said Spanish authorities sent samples of the second animal to British experts for further analysis.

``The first case is conclusive. There is no room for doubt,″ Arias Canete said.

The minister said Spanish authorities have quarantined the farms where the cows lived along with other farms which may have had contact with the animals. He said all cows suspected to have had contact with either animal will be destroyed and tested.

Earlier this month, Spain banned imports of French and Irish cattle destined for use in breeding. The decision was made after a sharp increase in the number of cases of mad cow disease in France _ up to 80 so far this year from 31 for the whole of last year.

BSE in beef has been linked to a fatal brain ailment in humans.

Spain already bans imports of British, Swiss and Portuguese cattle and beef because of health fears.

The beef scare exploded in Britain in 1996 when scientists confirmed that BSE could jump the species barrier and infect humans who consumed BSE-tainted beef. The European Union responded by banning British beef exports. It lifted the ban in August 1999 in response to safety measures adopted by Britain.

Two people are known to have died in France from the human equivalent of the disease, which has no known treatment. In Britain, 81 people have died since the disease was identified by government scientists.

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