Scientists to test for BSE in sheep

21 August 1998

Scientists to test for BSE in sheep

SCIENTISTS advising the Government are to step up checks on sheep flocks because of fears that sheep may have become infected with BSE – “mad cow” disease.

BSE in sheep would be a difficult problem to crack because, unlike in cattle, infection is likely to be found throughout the carcass. This would make it impossible to protect consumers by removing the most dangerous parts at the slaughterhouse.

The implications for sheep farmers could be devastating. Whole flocks would have to slaughtered.

The scientists are concerned that some cases of scrapie might now be BSE. The Governments Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee reported in its last meeting that additional work was required to determine the extent of scrapie in UK sheep and the strains involved. It has set up a sub-group to carry out the research.

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