DUBLIN, Ireland – The Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed a case of “atypical BSE” (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in an 18-year-old cow in Galway, Ireland. The animal was found during surveillance of fallen animals, according to the department. The cow had not entered the food chain, so there is no risk to human health.

The animal tested positive on a screening test at an accredited private laboratory over the weekend.

There are two types of BSE currently recognized – classical BSE and atypical BSE. Classical is associated with the feeding of meat-and-bone meal, and evidence shows that BSE is acquired in the first year of life.

Atypical BSE is thought to occur spontaneously in older animals at a lower incidence rate. It was first recognized in Europe in the early 2000s.

According to the Department, there have been 101 atypical BSE cases identified in the EU between 2003 and 2015, compared with 2,999 cases of classical BSE during the same period.

There have been three confirmed atypical cases in Ireland, compared to 145 cases of classical BSE in the same 13-year period. There have also been two cases of atypical BSE identified in Brazil and three cases in the US.

Animals cannot contract BSE from each other.

“The disclosure of this case of atypical BSE does not have any impact on Ireland’s current OIE BSE ‘controlled risk’ status or trade status,” the department said in a statement.