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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease risk management in Spain

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Despite the widespread occurrence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in European countries in the late 1990s and the European Commission Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) report that cattle in Spain were likely infected with BSE agent, Spanish authorities continued to consider their country BSE-free. Some key European Union (EU) regulations to reduce BSE risk were enforced with delay, and others had not been fully implemented until after the first BSE case was confirmed in Spain in November 2000. The BSE eradication plan, developed and implemented immediately after the first BSE case, was effective, as demonstrated by decline in the number of BSE cases following the peak in 2003. In 2007, the European Commission (EC) recognised Spain as a country with controlled BSE risk. Five cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) were reported in Spain between 2005 and 2010. Food safety and blood donor exclusion policies are in place to prevent further occurrence of vCJD.

Keywords: risk management, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vCJD, variant CJD, Spain, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, mad cow disease, food safety, blood donor exclusion

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