Keywords: bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vCJD, Switzerland, risk management, mad cow disease, food safety, variant CJD
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease risk management in Switzerland
In 1990, Switzerland became the first country in mainland Europe to report a native case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), despite a low level of live bovine and meat and bone meal (MBM) imports from the UK, the country generally recognised as the origin of the epidemic. Although an MBM to ruminant feed ban was immediately put into effect, the incidence of BSE continued to increase in cohorts born subsequently, possibly because of cross-contamination. The prompt decision to remove specified risk material (SRM) such as bovine brain and spinal cord from human food contributed to a low risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD); despite having had one of the highest rates of BSE of any country, Switzerland has yet to report a case of vCJD.