25 July 1997

Scrapie vector tests revisited

TWO MAFF-funded research projects are to re-examine trials in Iceland and the US which showed that hay mites can act as vectors for scrapie-type agents like BSE.

Researchers in the UK are sceptical about the connection, and say that there is likely to have been some anomaly in the results.

Central Science Laboratory researcher Ken Wildey explains that there may be some other protein involved which is causing the reaction, and giving a false positive result for scrapie. "US researchers are also unsure of their results and are repeating the work."

The research, headed by Dr Sigurdur Sigurdarson at the Institute for Experimental Pathology in Reykjavik, searched for a reason why some flocks had become reinfected with scrapie after the disease had been eradicated from Iceland.n