The Associated Press is reporting this afternoon that the USDA announced that a cow in Alabama has tested positive for BSE, becoming the third case of "mad cow disease" in the United States.

The AP reported that John Clifford, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the animal was a beef cow but had not entered the food supply for people or animals.

During USDA surveillance last week, an inconclusive result to the initial test on the animal meant the possibility of the disease being present. Results were confirmed by more detailed testing using the Western blot method at a government laboratory in Ames, Iowa, Clifford said.

The first U.S. incidence of BSE was in December 2003 in a cow residing in Washington state but born in Canada. Last June, BSE was found in an animal born and raised in Texas.

According to the AP, the cow spent the past year at an Alabama farm, Clifford said, and that the USDA is investigating where the animal -- at least 10-years-old in appearance -- was born and raised.

Different types of tests indicated the presence of mad cow disease. Two versions of the initial "rapid" screening test suggested the cow had the disease, and a more detailed Western blot confirmed that finding.

USDA is following up with a third test using immunohistochemistry, or IHC, and will release those results later in the week, the AP report said.

SOURCE: Associated Press and USDA information.