Germany to Test Sheep for Mad Cow Disease : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

Germany to test sheep for mad cow disease

The Associated Press

BERLIN (December 24, 2000 5:06 p.m. EST - The head of Germany's disease control agency has called for tests of the nation's sheep for variants of mad cow disease.

Reinhard Kurth, head of the Robert Koch Institute, said cattle and sheep had been exposed to the same animal feed that may have contained meat and bone meal, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday. Mad cow disease is believed to spread through such feed.

"There is absolutely no basis to assume that sheep are immune to this disease," Kurth was quoted as saying.

He said, however, that since 1963 Germany has only seen nine reported cases of sheep scrapie, an illness that is similar to mad cow disease. Experts believe the cattle disease, which appeared in the 1970s, may be a mutation of the sheep disease.

Mad cow disease has been linked to a human illness, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Researchers believe it is contracted by eating infected beef.

Germany recorded its first case of mad cow disease last month, and the number of infected cattle is growing. Other European countries have started pulling German beef products off shelves and banning imports.

-- Rachel Gibson (, December 24, 2000

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