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BSE Enhanced Surveillance Program

Canada implemented a national bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance program in 1992. In 2003, the Government announced that the number of annual BSE samples tested through this program would be increased. The level and design of BSE testing in Canada has always been, and continues to be, in full accordance with the guidelines recommended by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Surveillance is one of many BSE-related actions Canada has implemented to manage BSE. The program tests a sample of animals from the national cattle herd and focuses on higher-risk animals that are most likely to be affected by the disease. The surveillance program's objectives are to determine and monitor the level of BSE present in Canada and to confirm the effectiveness of the suite of measures Canada has implemented to protect human and animal health from the disease.


Sample Status and Testing Results

Updated monthly. Last updated 2011-08-31

No validated live animal test for BSE currently exists. Accordingly, testing for BSE can only be done on the brains of dead animals. Brain samples are screened using rapid tests that accurately and quickly detect a BSE positive sample nearly 100% of the time. Rapid tests can, in rare cases, react when a sample is not infected with BSE. These are known as "inconclusive" results. All samples that yield inconclusive results using a rapid test are sent to the CFIA laboratory in Lethbridge, Alberta for confirmatory testing.

2011

Month Samples Collected Samples Pending Negative Positive
August 2319 0 2319 0
July 1984 0 1984 0
June 2904 0 2904 0
May 3300 0 3300 0
April 4069 0 4069 0
March 4199 0 4199 0
February 3390 0 3389 1
January 3280 0 3280 0

2010

Month Samples Collected Samples Pending Negative Positive
December 2899 0 2899 0
November 2925 0 2925 0
October 2371 0 2371 0
September 2388 0 2388 0
August 2105 0 2105 0
July 2405 0 2405 0
June 2905 0 2905 0
May 3105 0 3105 0
April 3806 0 3806 0
March 4015 0 4015 0
February 3195 0 3194 1
January 3536 0 3536 0
Year to date 35655 0 35655 1

2009

Month Samples Collected Samples Pending Negative Positive
January 3507 0 3507 0
February 3285 0 3285 0
March 3592 0 3592 0
April 3900 0 3900 0
May 2991 0 2990 1
June 2729 0 2729 0
July 2294 0 2294 0
August 2009 0 2009 0
September 2170 0 2170 0
October 2596 0 2596 0
November 2719 0 2719 0
December 2826 0 2826 0
Year to date 34618 0 34617 1

2008

Month Samples Collected Samples Pending Negative Positive
January 6227 0 6227 0
February 5587 0 5586 1
March 5747 0 5747 0
April 6713 0 6713 0
May 5726 0 5726 0
June 3908 0 3907 1
July 2593 0 2593 0
August 1966 0 1965 1
September 2244 0 2244 0
October 2500 0 2500 0
November 2669 0 2668 1
December 2928 0 2928 0
Year to date 48808 0 48804 4

2007

Month Samples Collected Samples Pending Negative Positive
January 5449 0 5449 0
February 6108 0 6107 1
March 7096 0 7096 0
April 7162 0 7161 1
May 6343 0 6343 0
June 3969 0 3969 0
July 2912 0 2912 0
August 2946 0 2946 0
September 2601 0 2601 0
October 3509 0 3509 0
November 5158 0 5158 0
December 4924 0 4923 1
Year to date 58177 0 58174 3

Library and Archives Canada archives older versions of these reports in its Government of Canada Web Archive.


Samples collected

"Samples collected" indicates the number of samples submitted or being submitted to provincial or federal laboratories. Each sample represents one animal. Monthly values represent only the number of samples obtained in that month. "Year to date" values represent cumulative samples.

In January 2004, the Government of Canada announced that it would enhance its BSE surveillance testing to at least 8,000 cattle during the first year and to 30,000 per year in subsequent years to calculate the prevalence of BSE in Canadian adult cattle. The level and design of this enhanced program continues to be in full accordance with the guidelines recommended by the OIE.

BSE surveillance samples come from a variety of sources, including the farm, federal, provincial and territorial abattoirs, rendering and deadstock operations, veterinary practitioners, and university and provincial veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

Samples Pending

Pending samples are those for which final results are unavailable. This may be because they have yet to be tested, or testing is ongoing. Monthly values represent only the number of samples pending in that month. "Year to date" values represent cumulative pending samples.

Negative

Negative samples have been determined negative based on screening results or confirmatory testing. Monthly values represent only the number of samples testing negative in that month. "Year to date" values represent cumulative negative samples.

Positive

Positive samples are those that have been confirmed as positive by immunohistochemistry (IHC), or in the case of poor quality samples and IHC negative suspect tests, the SAP immunoblot, both internationally recognized confirmatory tests for BSE. Monthly values represent only the number of samples testing positive in that month. "Year to date" values represent cumulative positive samples.