Scrapie cases down 40%

Scrapie control programmes have slashed the number of scrapie-infected sheep by 40% since 2003, according to new research.

Data provided by the VLA for The Institute for Animal Health found from clinical investigations of healthy animals over 18 months old slaughtered for human consumption and all animals over 18 months found dead on farm, the number of scrapie cases fell by about 40% between 2003 and 2007.

And it is likely scrapie control programmes have had a large part to play in the decline according to IAHs’ Simon Gubbins. “Although it is not possible to identify the precise causes of the reduction, it is likely the various scrapie control schemes have contributed to the decline in the prevalence of the disease.”

The schemes include the Ram Genotyping Scheme and the Compulsory Scrapie Flocks Scheme, introduced in 2001 and 2004 respectively.