Testing Madness

More testing for mad cow disease is not necessarily better testing


Editor¿s note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on June 25 an "inconclusive" result on a rapid test used to detect mad cow disease (in the first three weeks of June, there were 5,668 negative results). Results of a confirmatory test with immunohistochemistry, announced on June 30, indicate that the suspect animal was not infected. Because the rapid tests produce a false positive rate of about 0.1 percent, and the U.S. is testing thousands of cattle a month, additional inconclusive results are expected.

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