A case of mad cow disease discovered in Canada in December involves an "atypical" strain of the infection also reported in Europe, Canadian officials said Wednesday.
Canada's 11th case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also called mad cow disease, provides evidence that multiple strains of the affliction exist around the world, said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
"Canada's eleventh case of BSE has been attributed to a less prevalent, atypical strain of BSE which has also been reported in Europe. This is the second case of BSE in Canada that has involved an atypical strain," the CFIA said.
It said that, as in many atypical BSE cases, the diseased animal was more than 13 years old, compared to an average of six years old for those infected with the BSE strain involved in most cases.
"The identification of these atypical strains of BSE is a reflection of an increased global awareness of the potential for multiple strains of the BSE agent to exist, continuous advancements in diagnostic test methods and is a direct result of the enhanced BSE surveillance activities occurring worldwide," the CFIA said.
A 12th case of BSE was discovered in a six-year-old cow in Alberta in February.