Get rid of scrapie, urges SEAC

15 April 1999

Get rid of scrapie, urges SEAC

SCRAPIE must be eliminated from the national sheep flock, urged the governments advisers on fatal brain diseases in humans and animals.

Control programmes should be introduced to eliminate the disease, said Sir John Pattison, chairman of the Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (SEAC).

They would also protect the public in the event that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) had passed into sheep.

Experiments are currently being conducted to find out how easily sheep could be infected with BSE, but the results would not be known for three to four years.

SEAC called for research to improve the diagnoses of fatal brain illnesses in sheep and to find better ways to distinguish between BSE and strains of scrapie.

There have been only 602 cases of scrapie in sheep recorded since it became strictly notifiable in 1993.

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