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

Last updated: 2016-07-28

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.

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2016
Month Samples Tested Positive
June 1908 0
May 2287 0
April 2936 0
March 2731 0
February 2372 0
January 2921 0
Total 15155 0

The number of samples tested in recent months is subject to change as new laboratory results are provided.

Previous Years

BSE surveillance annual results for 2004 to 2015
Year Samples Tested Positive
2015 26285 1
2014 27531 0
2013 31187 0
2012 27371 0
2011 33186 1
2010 35656 1
2009 34619 1
2008 48808 4
2007 58177 3
2006 55420 5
2005 57768 2
2004 23550 0

2015

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2015
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2252 0
November 2238 0
October 1949 0
September 1776 0
August 1391 0
July 1811 0
June 2047 0
May 1916 0
April 3000 0
March 2768 0
February 2243 1 (Case #19)
January 2894 0
Total 26285 1

2014

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2014
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2300 0
November 2382 0
October 2079 0
September 1684 0
August 1529 0
July 1773 0
June 2081 0
May 2523 0
April 3152 0
March 2654 0
February 2373 0
January 3001 0
Total 27531 0

2013

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2013
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2103 0
November 2407 0
October 2497 0
September 1676 0
August 1917 0
July 2034 0
June 1986 0
May 3226 0
April 3960 0
March 3086 0
February 2987 0
January 3308 0
Total 31187 0

2012

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2012
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2309 0
November 2782 0
October 2337 0
September 1374 0
August 1889 0
July 1857 0
June 2030 0
May 2625 0
April 2450 0
March 2593 0
February 2696 0
January 2429 0
Total 27371 0

2011

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2011
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 1655 0
November 2354 0
October 2019 0
September 1984 0
August 2319 0
July 1984 0
June 2632 0
May 3300 0
April 4069 0
March 4199 0
February 3390 1 (Case #18)
January 3280 0
Total 33186 1

2010

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2010
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2899 0
November 2925 0
October 2371 0
September 2388 0
August 2105 0
July 2405 0
June 2905 0
May 3105 0
April 3806 0
March 4015 0
February 3195 1 (Case #17)
January 3536 0
Total 35656 1

2009

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2009
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2826 0
November 2719 0
October 2596 0
September 2170 0
August 2009 0
July 2294 0
June 2729 0
May 2992 1 (Case #16)
April 3900 0
March 3592 0
February 3285 0
January 3507 0
Total 34619 1

2008

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2008
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 2928 0
November 2669 1 (Case #15)
October 2500 0
September 2244 0
August 1966 1 (Case #14)
July 2593 0
June 3908 1 (Case #13)
May 5726 0
April 6713 0
March 5747 0
February 5587 1 (Case #12)
January 6227 0
Total 48808 4

2007

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2007
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 4924 1 (Case #11)
November 5158 0
October 3509 0
September 2601 0
August 2946 0
July 2912 0
June 3969 0
May 6344 1 (Case #10)
April 7161 0
March 7096 0
February 6108 1 (Case #9)
January 5449 0
Total 58177 3

2006

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2006
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 5769 0
November 5563 0
October 3243 0
September 3388 0
August 2408 1 (Case #8)
July 2469 2 (Cases #7 & #6)
June 4405 0
May 5117 0
April 6131 1 (Case #5)
March 6763 0
February 4877 0
January 5287 1 (Case #4)
Total 55420 5

2005

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2005
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 5745 0
November 5647 0
October 3260 0
September 3098 0
August 2627 0
July 3288 0
June 5220 0
May 6000 0
April 7026 0
March 5673 0
February 4990 0
January 5194 2 (Cases # 3 & #2)
Total 57768 2

2004

BSE surveillance monthly results for 2004
Month Samples Tested Positive
December 386 0
November 550 0
October 797 0
September 877 0
August 486 0
July 1305 0
June 602 0
May 594 0
April 879 0
March 3125 0
February 6861 0
January 7088 0
Year total 23550 0

Cases Reports are continuously archived. Please see the Completed Investigations web page to find all the Investigation Reports.

Samples tested

"Samples tested" 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.

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.

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