Nov 18, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said today it is running confirmatory tests on a possible new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The first BSE case spurred the USDA to expand its BSE surveillance program starting in June. The new possible case was one of the high-risk animals targeted in the surveillance program, said Andrea Morgan, associate deputy administrator for veterinary services in the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She spoke at a morning news conference, a transcript of which was published online. In late June the USDA reported inconclusive results on single BSE screening tests on two different cows. Further testing ruled out the disease in both cases, but the initial test results shook the beef industry. As a result, in August the USDA set a policy whereby it will make no announcement until two BSE screening tests on the same animal are inconclusive. Two rapid screening tests on a cow were inconclusive, prompting the USDA to begin confirmatory tests, which will take 4 to 7 days, officials said in a statement. The carcass was kept out of the food and animal feed chains, the agency said. It did not reveal where the cow came from or where it was initially tested. USDA news briefing transcript Morgan said today that after one test was inconclusive, “We allowed the submitting laboratory to rerun the test, and they got yet another indication on the rerun of an inconclusive.” The result was reported early this morning, she said. Morgan said the USDA “remains confident in the safety of the US beef supply.” After the first BSE case was found, the agency banned nonambulatory (“downer”) cattle and high-risk cattle tissues, called specified-risk materials (SRMs), from the human food chain. SRMs include the skull, brain, spinal cord, vertebral column, and certain nerve bundles from cattle older than 30 months, plus the tonsils and small intestine of cattle of all ages. Morgan said the SRM ban would protect the public if another BSE case is confirmed. The USDA says it has tested more than 113,000 cattle since June 1 in its expanded BSE surveillance program. The program mainly targets animals considered to be at increased risk for BSE, including those that can’t walk, die on farms, are injured, or show signs of neurologic disease. Up to 12 labs around the country have been authorized to conduct the rapid BSE screening tests. If the case is confirmed, it would be the nation’s second. The first case, detected last December in a cow in Washington state, prompted dozens of countries to stop importing US beef. The Bush administration recently announced a tentative agreement with Japan on conditions for reopening the Japanese market to American beef. “The inconclusive result does not mean we have found another case of BSE in this country,” Morgan stated. “Inconclusive results are a normal component of screening tests, which are designed to be extremely sensitive so that they will detect any samples that could possibly be positive.” Aug 9 CIDRAP News story on USDA policy on reporting BSE test resultshttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/other/bse/news/august0904bse.html USDA news release on inconclusive test Tissue samples from the cow have been sent to the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, for confirmatory tests, Morgan said. “If the test comes back positive for BSE we will then be providing additional information about the animal and its origin,” she stated. See also:
Students elected Mikey Geragos and Vinnie Prasad to serve as Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president, respectively, in the 2012-2013 school year.All smiles · Vinnie Prasad (left) and Mikey Geragos (right) were unofficially named vice president and president of the Undergraduate Student Government. Both Geragos and Prasad have served as USG Senator pro tempore. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily TrojanGeragos, USG director of university affairs, and Prasad, USG Senator pro tempore, received 2,376 votes, winning by a nearly seven-point margin. The presidential ticket of Jared Ginsburg, USG director of campus affairs, and Samantha Coxe, a Greek senator, placed second with 1,992 votes. The ticket of Theo Offei and Julia Riley garnered 960 votes.Geragos said he plans to work with current USG President Monish Tyagi and USG Vice President Logan Lachman to ensure a smooth transition between administrations. Elected USG officers will be sworn in early April.“I’m going to take tonight off,” Geragos said. “But after that I’m going to sit down with Monish and start going over all of the transition things we need to hit. I feel like it’s really important I get up to speed on everything so we can hit the ground running.”Geragos said one priority for his administration is improving on-campus dining.“That’s been a big thing,” Geragos said. “I got a lot of responses for that [during the campaign] from students who wanted it to get fixed, so I’ll definitely be focusing on that.”Tyagi said Geragos and Prasad’s USG experience will allow them to work effectively in their new positions.“They both have a lot of experience in USG,” Tyagi said. “That’s going to bode really well for them going into next year.”Tyagi said the winners should channel their energy from the campaign into their new positions in USG.“It’s a lot of work ahead of them,” Tyagi said. “It might feel like this is the end, but it is just the beginning of a very memorable year. But I know if they approach this next year with the same amount of dedication as they approached this campaign, they will keep moving USC forward.”USG co-directors of elections and recruitment Elise Fabbro and Kelly Hann announced the results of the presidential and senatorial races during a USG Senate meeting in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. More than 75 students attended the meeting in anticipation of the results.Students cast 5,546 ballots in the election, nearly a 200-ballot drop from last year’s contest, in which 5,741 students participated. Hahn attributed this decrease to the intermittent rain last week.“Rain definitely influenced it,” Hahn said. “But we are happy with the turnouts.”USG also announced the election of 12 Senate positions. No incumbents ran for re-election.Sophomores Ryan Park, Matthew Arkfeld and Alexander Cascante were elected to serve as Greek senators.Park said, as a senator, he plans to focus on creating an online calendar of Greek activities and on repairing the sidewalks on The Row.The six winners of the residential senator election were junior Josh DeMilta, sophomore Maheen Sahoo and freshmen Jasmine McAllister, Emma Katz, Sona Shah and Sarah Loh.“Our plans are to improve campus sustainability, the dining halls as well as housing facilities,” said Shah, who ran on a slate with Loh.Juniors Adam Prohoroff, Vicken Antounian and Ani Tatintsyan were elected to serve as commuter senators. Follow USG beat writer Daniel Rothberg on Twitter. | For more coverage on the 2012 USG elections, click here.