Spain has confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in the northwestern province of Castilla y Leon, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Friday.
Routine testing showed a positive result for atypical BSE type L disease in tissue from an animal on a cattle farm in Horcajo Medianero, near the town of Salamanca, the Paris-based OIE said, citing a report from Spain's agriculture ministry.
Classic mad cow disease was detected in Britain in the late 1980s, spreading from there to other parts of Europe. It ravaged cattle herds until the early 2000s and was linked to the brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
Atypical cases have occasionally been detected in recent years, with Ireland reporting a case last month.
A spokesman at Spain's agriculture ministry said the case it detected would not lead to any restrictions on trade or affect consumers.
However, an atypical case in Brazil, one of the largest exporters of beef, in 2012 led some importers to suspend trade.
European Union countries have gradually been regaining trade access after many countries banned EU beef following the BSE crisis at the turn of the century.
The United States and China have in the past two years approved some EU countries as beef suppliers, including Ireland and more recently France.
The atypical BSE strain in Spain was detected in a female animal born in 2003, as part of testing of cattle over 48 months old, according to the ministry report cited by the OIE.
The cow, part of a herd of 134 cattle, was destroyed and investigations were continuing for three other animals, the report said.