Officials Suspect Mad Cow Disease in Romanian Beef

Mnet 136466 Mad Cow Disease Lead

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Officials say they have found a case of suspected mad cow disease in Romanian beef.

Romania's animal health and safety authority said Wednesday a preliminary test on May 1 indicated the cow was infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

It said the carcass has been sent to a British laboratory for further tests and it could be an "atypical form of BSE which appears naturally and spontaneously in cattle."

The officials only revealed the case after Russia decided to ban imports of Romanian beef, citing fears of BSE. It wasn't clear how the Russians learned about it.

BSE is fatal to cows and can cause a fatal brain disease in people who eat tainted beef.

Romania exports up to one million cattle a year, mainly to the Netherlands, Italy, and Croatia.