Mad Cow Disease confirmed on a farm in the UK

The disease was confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire

Mad cow disease has been found on a farm in Aberdeenshire - the first case in Britain for three years.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's rural economy secretary, said the government has set up a precautionary ban on the movement of animals from the farm, which is "standard procedure".

Officials stressed that the case is classical BSE, which does not represent a threat to human health, and the animal did not enter the food supply.

This is the first case of the disease in three years in the United Kingdom and the first confirmed in Scotland since 2008, it is understood. In 1996, it became clear the disease can be transmitted to humans in the form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Restrictions are in place at the farm in Scotland as an investigation into the outbreak continues.

The finding of the disease is a "disappointment", said Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer, Sheila Voas.

A global ban on the export of British beef was imposed in March 1996 and this remained in place until the European Union lifted it 10 years later.

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All animals over four years of age that die on farm are routinely tested for BSE under our comprehensive surveillance system.

Mad cow disease reached its peak in the U.K.in 1992-3, when more than 100,000 confirmed cases of mad cow disease were reported, sparking widespread panic, according to The Guardian.

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland said: "There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity".

Britain grappled with a massive outbreak throughout the 1990s when hundreds of thousands of cattle were diagnosed with BSE, resulting n a worldwide ban on beef exports from the United Kingdom. Although the import ban was lifted in 2014, actual imports have yet to resume pending negotiations between the two countries, so the incident in Scotland won't have any effect on American beef. "Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place".

The UK death toll from BSE is now at 177 since Stephen Churchill, 19, died of a fatal brain condition linked to mad cow disease in 1995.

The case is the first in Scotland in more than a decade.

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