The EFSA recently published its first EU summary report on the monitoring of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) in cattle, sheep and goats – with low incidences of the disease being found.

Previously, the annual reports on TSEs were compiled by the European Commission.

TSEs are a group of diseases that affect the brain and nervous system of humans and animals. With the exception of classical BSE, there is no scientific evidence that other TSEs can be transmitted to humans.

A low number of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) cases in cattle were detected in EU Member States, none of which entered the food chain.

The report found that five cases of BSE in cattle were reported in the EU in 2015, out of about 1.4m animals tested.

The five cases were detected in four Member States: Ireland: one case; Slovenia: one case; Spain: one case; and the United Kingdom: two cases. One case was detected in Norway.

Two cases in Ireland and the United Kingdom were affected by classical BSE and both cases were born after the EU-wide feed ban enforced in 2001, the EFSA report shows.

The remaining four cases were atypical BSE cases (three H-BSE type and one L-BSE type).

Since 2001, approximately 114m cattle in the EU have been tested for BSE, according to the EFSA.

Some 641 cases of scrapie (a type of TSE) in sheep (out of 319,638 tested) and 1,052 in goats have been reported (out of 135,857 tested) in the EU in 2015.

Since 2002, the report shows that approximately 8.4m small ruminants have been tested during the EU-wide surveillance for scrapie.

Results obtained from genotyping in sheep show that cases of classical scrapie are clustered among certain genotypes, and animals with these genotypes seem to account for less than 20% of the European randomly sampled sheep population.

The report included results on data collected by all EU Member States, along with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland for 2015 on the occurrence of BSE in cattle and scrapie in sheep and goats – two forms of TSEs.