A second test has confirmed that a Czechoslovakian cow is the first in eastern Europe to have contracted BSE, according to Agriculture Minister Jan Fencl.


Fencl told reporters that the test “confirmed the original finding,” and added that a third test was due to be carried out in Germany, with results expected during the middle of this week.


The infected cow, which was bred on a cooperative farm in Dusejov, was discovered after tests were carried out on more than 10,000 animals. Fencl did not comment on the action the government would now take, but veterinary officials have already revealed that any animals from the 389-strong herd suspected of harbouring BSE would be slaughtered.


Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) came to light in British cattle during the 1980s. At the end of last year, a wave of the brain-wasting disease hit continental Europe, showing up in cattle from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Many scientists believe that the disease is transmitted via infected cattle feeds, and that humans may contract the fatal equivalent variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) by eating infected beef. The Czech Agriculture Ministry revealed that it has been investigating the potential for a cow to contract BSE through milk feed, where the milk fat has been substituted for rendering-plant fat.


The Czech Republic had been listed as a country likely to exhibit by BSE the EC, because it has imported meat-and-bone meal. Until now many have argued that the feed was too expensive to give to domestic cattle and have protested this classification.


Responding the test results, neighbouring countries Poland and Slovakia have banned all beef imports from Czechoslovakia. Hungary has also said that it will would withdraw all import licences and allow only tested meat to enter the country.