Spanish Health Minister Elena Salgado said health authorities are investigating the "strong probability" the country has suffered its first mad cow disease fatality, according to a report by the AFP news agency.

Salgado told a press conference there were indications the disease was the cause of death on July 10 of a 26-year-old woman from Madrid.

If confirmed, the case would be the first death from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Spain.

Salgado said tests were currently being undertaken at a specialist centre in Edinburgh to determine if the victim, who died in hospital in the Madrid suburb of Alcorcon, had succumbed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of BSE.

"There is no public health problem in Spain," Salgado insisted, adding that if the woman had fallen victim to the disease then it was "an isolated case."