STATEMENT BY DR. JOHN CLIFFORD REGARDING FURTHER ANALYSIS OF BSE TEST RESULTS IN WEYBRIDGE, ENGLAND
June 16, 2005
"Today, an official with USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory departed for Weybridge, England, hand-carrying samples for further testing.
"USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been consulting with officials at the Weybridge laboratory to discuss the conflicting results and the protocol for additional testing at Weybridge and USDA. Weybridge officials will be conducting a combination of rapid, immunohistochemistry and Western blot tests to determine whether or not this animal had BSE. USDA will also conduct additional analysis testing to better understand the conflicting results.
"Regardless of the final outcome of the tests on this animal, our interlocking safeguards worked to protect both animal and human health. The carcass of this animal was incinerated and therefore never entered the food or feed chain. In addition, public and animal health is protected by the ban on specified risk materials (SRMs) from the human food supply, along with FDA's 1997 regulations that prohibit the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants.
"USDA has been conducting an enhanced surveillance program for BSE since June 2004. To date, we have tested more than 381,000 animals from the targeted population and all have tested negative for the disease, with the exception of the conflicting results from this sample. We look forward to receiving final test results on this sample from Weybridge."
Weybridge will conduct an IHC, OIE-prescribed Western Blot, a NaTTA Western Blot and a Prionics Western Blot rapid screening tests on tissue from this animal.
USDA will conduct a BioRad and IDEXX rapid screening tests and IHC tests. In addition, an OIE-prescribed Western Blot and DNA sequencing to determine the prion protein gene sequence of the animal will also be run.