A suspected case of BSE in Ireland has served as a reminder of the essential need for robust surveillance systems north and south of the border, and across the UK and beyond.

The Irish Government stated that a suspected case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) has been identified in County Louth in the Republic of Ireland and that further tests were being carried out on the five-year-old cow.

The North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) and British Veterinary Association (BVA) have praised the measured and timely communications between the authorities on both sides of the border.

BVA president John Blackwell said: “While this case is only a suspicion at present it clearly demonstrates we can never take our eye off the ball in disease surveillance.”

BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease, is a fatal disease that attacks the animal’s brain and central nervous system.

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) said the cow was not presented for slaughter and did not enter the food chain.

The chief veterinary officer for Northern Ireland, Robert Huey, has stated that NI beef is safe to eat.
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