In the first reported case outside western Europe, officials in the Czech Republic announced in June a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a herd of breeding cows.
BSE had only been diagnosed in one animal as of press time, but the Czech government said that all 138 cattle in the herd would be destroyed and tested. Veterinary officials did not yet know how the disease reached the country.
But in April, scientists advising the European Commission published an opinion that the Czech Republic, along with Albania, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and the Slovak Republic, was likely to have BSE because it imported live cattle and meat and bonemeal from countries with BSE.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a woman has been hospitalized with a suspected case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of BSE. The woman, an unidentified 34-year-old from China, had involuntary limb movements, dementia, and other symptoms of vCJD. Hong Kong health officials consulted experts at the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit in the United Kingdom for help with the diagnosis.
"It is confirmed that the patient fulfills all clinical diagnostic criteria for vCJD," a spokesperson from the Prince of Wales Hospital said in a statement. "Therefore, the patient is clinically diagnosed as suffering from vCJD. The patient's condition is stable at present."