• Kyodo

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Japan, Switzerland, Britain and other countries discussed strengthening international cooperation on measures against mad cow disease in Switzerland on Wednesday.

The seminar was held in Bern by the World Organization for Animal Health, an international body of 164 member countries and territories that fights animal diseases.

Japanese participant Takashi Onodera, head of an agriculture ministry panel on the brain-wasting disease, told Kyodo News that attendees discussed boosting cooperation by such means as submitting samples of pathogen prions of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to the world body for multilateral diagnosis.

Cooperation mainly among three research institutes — Japan’s National Institute of Animal Health and one each in Switzerland and Britain — to unify diagnostic methods and create a stock of samples was also discussed, Onodera said.

Onodera, also a professor at the University of Tokyo, said he would like to discuss with the ministry panel how Japan should respond to the plan after he returns home.

He said there have been consecutive BSE diagnoses in cows under 24 months of age in Japan. He was referring to the two latest cases, one regarding a 23-month-old cow in early October and that of a 21-month-old cow confirmed Tuesday, Japan’s ninth case.

It is considered rare for cows younger than 24 months to contract the disease.

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