WASHINGTON — The U.S. Agriculture Department may need up to two weeks to complete test results of an animal suspected of having mad cow disease, the department's chief veterinarian said Saturday.
A series of tests will be carried out at the USDA laboratory in Ames, Iowa, and at an internationally known facility in Britain, to determine whether the older beef animal is infected with the brain-wasting disease, USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford said in an interview.
Because of unusual circumstances, Clifford said, USDA scientists were drawing up a detailed testing plan for the suspect animal. A decision on exactly how many tests, and what types, was expected by late next week.
"We want to make sure that everybody agrees on the tests that should be done," Clifford said.
The USDA must first conduct additional analyses on the suspect animal's remaining brain sample to ensure that enough tissue was available for testing in Britain, he said.