How is BSE transmitted?

Published 26.01.2015     Modified 25.02.2015

BSE is transmitted through animal feed. Animal feed with bone meal blended in, which was not satisfactorily heat treated, was the source of infection for the large outbreak in England in the 90's. After this outbreak, it was forbidden to use bone meal in the animal feed of ruminants.

In rare cases, humans have been infected through products like brain and other nervous tissue from cattle. One has to eat these parts of the animal to be infected.

In Norway and the rest of Europe, parts of the animal that can contain infection are routinely removed. These parts are not used for for food, but are destroyed at a designated facility.

BSE is not transmitted by contact with animals, nor through direct contact from animal to animal. Neither is BSE transmitted through milk. BSE infection is not present in the meat products available on store shelves.

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