12-24-03

 

With the diagnosis (presumptive) of BSE or "mad cow disease" in the
state of Washington, we need to exercise caution. This is NOT a panic
situation. Facts will evolve over time, but not only is our agricultural
community safe, but so are our alpacas and llamas! Be calm and let the
facts unfold over the next few weeks.



David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Ohio State University

-----------------------------------------

12-15-03  Mad Cow

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy:

Do alpacas have anything to fear?


David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head, Food Animal Medicine and Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
The Ohio State University
www.icinfo.org


This communication is a very preliminary discussion about the relevance
of concerns regarding transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in
alpacas. This issue has been raised recently because of the Canada-USA
border closing to movement of all ruminanting species after the
diagnosis of BSE in a single cow in Alberta, Canada.

TSE's are the prion particle diseases of animals and humans. Prions are
similar to viruses, but much smaller and act to cause abnormal function
or metabolism in the cells. In the case of TSE's, the prion particle
causes a change in the form of an intracellular protein. Cell
proteinases can no longer breakdown this protein causing a buildup of
the protein until cell function degrades. Eventually, enough cells are
involved to cause clinical signs of disease.

To date, we have found no published research on TSE's in South American
Camelids. There has been one published study that looked at the prion
protein characteristics in a Dromedary Camel. Sheep and cattle have
approximately 97% homology (identical sequences) in the prion protein.
This homology may have some bearing on the fact that cattle and sheep
suffer from a similar prion disease (sheep = scrapie; cattle = BSE or
bovine spongiform encephalopathy). The dromedary camel examined had only
92 to 93% homology to cattle and sheep. At this time, we have no idea
what the significance of this finding is. The differences in alleles may
or may not be indicative of a species barrier to TSE's in camelids.

To date and to our knowledge, no camelid has been diagnosed with a TSE.
At Ohio State University, our pathologists examine over 100 llamas and
alpacas each year. Brains are routinely inspected because of the common
meningeal worm infection in the Northeast to the Midwest USA. Our
pathologists have never seen any lesions similar to a spongiform
encephalopathy.

The current state of knowledge of TSE in camelids is severely lacking.
Scientific study will be needed to answer questions regarding species
susceptibility of camelids to TSE's. TSE's are not directly contagious.
The principle risk that an infected animal might pose to other humans or
animals is in the event the animal is eaten. Eating prion infected
tissues may result in infection in the exposed animal. Thus, all meat
and bone derived proteins have been banned from ruminants feeds in the
USA. Thus, alpacas would only become infected if they have consumed
feedstuffs containing tissues from infected animals (e.g. sheep or
cattle with TSE). Affected alpacas would only transmit the disease to
their offspring or to other animals if they themselves or contaminated
tissues were eaten.

This is strictly preliminary and is in response to questions we have
been asked. We will continue to update and modify this report as more
information is obtained.



REFERENCE:
Sequencing analysis of prion genes from red deer and camel.

Kaluz S, Kaluzova M, Flint AP.

University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, UK.
virukalu@savba.sk

An abnormal isoform of the prion protein (PrP) appears to be the agent
responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). The
normal isoform of PrP is host-encoded and expressed in the central
nervous system. The recent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
epidemic in the UK and the incidence of prion-related diseases in other
animals could indicate that ruminants are highly susceptible to
infection via ingestion of prion-contaminated food. Sequence analysis of
PrP gene open reading frames from red deer and camel was carried out to
investigate sequence variability of these genes among ruminants.

PMID: 9358067 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

--------------------------------------------------

FSNET JUNE 2, 2003

BSE disease investigation in western Canada

------------------


5-20-2003  * *  National Lama Health & Government Relations Committee
Alert
                           * *   Mad Cow Disease

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (aka Mad Cow Disease) has today been
confirmed in an 8 year old cow sent to slaughter in Canada.  The cow was
tested as part of Canada's ongoing BSE surveillance program. Prior to
this case of BSE, the only prior confirmed case in Canada was found in a
beef cow imported from Britain in 1987 that was immediately destroyed.


Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is a chronic, degenerative
disorder affecting the central nervous system of cattle and was first
diagnosed in Great Britain. Though the majority of the confirmed cases
to date have been from the United Kingdom, BSE has also been confirmed
cattle in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.  BSE has not
been confirmed in the US.


BSE part of  an animal and human disease group known as Transmissible
Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE's).  TSE's have been confirmed in a
number of different animal species.  One, Scrapie, has been described in
sheep and goats for hundreds of years, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has
been well documented for a number of years in elk and deer populations
throughout Colorado, Wyoming and various other states as well as Canada.
TSE's have been further documented in mink and cats and humans are also
susceptible. Perhaps the best-known human TSE is Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease (CJD). Presently, animal and human TSE's have no treatments or
preventative vaccines and are fatal.


The US government has taken aggressive actions since the late 1980's in
order to protect our country from BSE and/or other Foreign Animal
Diseases. As part of these preventative measures, USDA has just
announced today that it is "placing Canada under BSE restriction
guidelines and will not accept any ruminants or ruminant products from
Canada pending further
investigation."   For a number of years now, USDA has prohibited
importation of live ruminants including cattle, sheep and goats from
countries that are "at risk for having BSE".


Members of the National Lama Health & Government Relations Committee are
monitoring this situation and are in contact with USDA, USAHA and State
Vet personnel as we work to mitigate potential negative impact to the
llama and alpaca industry.  We are advancing critical distinctions that
uniquely set llamas and alpacas apart from the food chain destined and
true ruminant species that notably are included on the USDA import
restriction list.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Teri Nilson Baird:       Ph: 303-646-4373        email:
teri@brokenwindmill.com
Karen Conyngham:   Ph: 512-328-8715        email:
72040.3361@compuserve..com
Dan Goodyear:            Ph: 610-488-6666        email: BALDAN@aol.com
Marsharee Wilcox:        Ph: 410-374-3783        email:
evllamas@bellatlantic.net

-------------------

IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE, AN 8-YEAR OLD COW IN ALBERTA, CANADA WAS DIAGNOSEDWITH BSE THIS YEAR. NOW, THIS IS NOTHING TO GET HISTERICAL ABOUT. THECANADIANS ARE DOING A VERY THOROUGH JOB RESEARCHING AND TRACKING THISCOW. THEY HAVE A MORE ADVANCED / SOPHISTICATED TRACKING SYSTEM THAN WEHAVE IN THE USA, SO I AM SURE THEY WILL GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT QUICKLY.
HOWEVER, THE USA HAS BANNED MOVEMENT OF ANY RUMINANT SPECIES FROM CANADAINTO THE USA FROT EH TIME BEING. AT LEAST IN THE MESSAGE INCLUDED BELOW,THEY SEEM TO INCLUDE CAMELIDS. WE WILL KEEP YOU APPRISED.             

    May 20, 2003

Subject:   Clarification of the Prohibition of the Importation of all Live
Ruminants, Ruminant Meat, Ruminant Meat Products and Other Ruminant
Protein Products from Canada due to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

To:             Regional Directors, VS
           Veterinary Regulatory Support, PPQ


On May 20, 2003, Mr. Bobby R. Acord, Administrator, Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received information from Dr. Sarah
Kahn, Chief Veterinary Officer and Director, Animal Health and
Production Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, reporting a
confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.  Due to this
reporting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), APHIS, Veterinary
Services (VS) is placing a prohibition on the importation of all live
ruminants (such as cattle, sheep, goats, cervids, camelids), ruminant
meat, ruminant meat products and other ruminant products from Canada.
This prohibition is effective as of 1:30 p.m., May 20, 2003.  APHIS
believes that emergency measures are necessary to minimize risk to
livestock, livestock producers and other industries in the United
States.

We are suspending the following animals and animal products from Canada:

     1. Live ruminants (imports and transits);
     2. Processed animal protein (such as meat and bone meal, meat meal,
     bone meal, blood meal, protein meal, etc.), regardless of species of
     origin (not intended to exclude human food in prepackaged, final form);
     3. Animal feed (unless demonstrated to be of exclusively milk or
     non-animal origin);
     4. Pet food (unless animal protein is non-mammalian origin, under permit          conditions);
     5. Milk replacers containing animal fat or non-milk animal protein;
     6. Ruminant blood and blood products;
     7. Animal vaccines containing ruminant-derived products;
     8. Ruminant offal (internal organs, intestines and tissues not otherwise specified);
     9. Ruminant casings;
     10. Ruminant glands (including but not limited to adrenal, pancreas,
     thymus, thyroid, pituitary, etc.);
     11. Ruminant gland extracts/derivatives;
     12. Unprocessed ruminant fat;
     13. Processed fats and oils;
     14. Nutritional supplements containing specified risk materials (SRMs)both in bulk and in final finished package for human or animal consumption;
     15. Ruminant bones;
     16. Tankage;
     17. Tallow, except for tallow derivatives;
     18. Ruminant bone-derived gelatin for animal use (permit and additional
     conditions will allow imports for non-animal/industrial use);
     19. Ruminant-derived cartilage and/or chondroitin sulfate;
     20. Non-hide derived collagen (exemptions similar to those for gelatin
     for    non-animal use); and
     21. Ruminant urine/urine derivatives.
     22. Ruminant meat and meat products


The following animal and animal products are still eligible for entry:
milk, milk products, ruminant hide derived products, ruminant semen and
embryos.  Semen and embryo import protocols that include the BSE
certification statements will be completed shortly.

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

Karen A. James-Preston, DVM
Director
Technical Trade Services
National Center for Import and Export

The above compilation of articles about "BSE" was provided by

David E Anderson, DVM, MS
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University

 

 

Return to Health Page                    RMLA Home