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U.S. cow tests positive for mad cow

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WASHINGTON, Nov 18, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday said a cow had tested positive for mad cow disease, which, if confirmed, would be the second U.S. case.

The cow tested positive on so-called rapid tests, which are being declared inconclusive until the USDA receives results of confirmatory testing from its lab in Ames, Iowa, USDA's Andrea Morgan said in a statement.

The finding "does not mean we have found another case of (mad cow) in this country," Morgan said. Final results are expected back within seven days.

The USDA changed its procedures after two inconclusive cases earlier this summer that subsequently were ruled negative, and now only reports inconclusives after they have tested positive on two rapid tests.

USDA officials convened a hastily arranged news conference to announce the results, giving reporters only six minutes notice. The conference ended after less than nine minutes.

The agency did not disclose details regarding the animal or its origin, but said it did not enter the food chain.

Morgan said she did not expect the new finding to affect negotiations with Japan, which recently had indicated it might soon open its borders to U.S. beef.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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