27 April 2001
Scientists link BSE to infected sheep

By FWi staff

GOVERNMENT scientists have found evidence to support the theory that BSE was caused by feeding cattle scrapie-infected sheep, reports The Independent.

Last years BSE inquiry dismissed the theory, but preliminary experiment results show that cattle injected with scrapie contract a BSE-type disease.

One batch of 10 cattle was injected in the brain with brain material from sheep which died of scrapie before 1975.

Another batch of 10 was similarly injected with material from sheep which died of the disease after 1990.

One animal in each batch developed BSE disease in the experiment conducted at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, near Weybridge in Surrey.

While results have been passed to the Governments spongiform encephalopathy advisory committee (SEAC), further work is needed.

Another experiment, which began in September, involves feeding scrapie material to cattle to see if the disease can be transmitted orally.

Earlier this month, New Zealand scientists claimed that the most likely source of BSE was infected safari-park antelope rendered for cattle feed.

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