USDA-APHIS recently launched two important scrapie studies. The first study will determine the prevalence of scrapie in goats. The other study will evaluate a new live animal test for scrapie.
A Caprine Scrapie Prevalence Study, designed to determine whether the prevalence of scrapie in the adult slaughter goat population is less than 0.1 percent, is currently underway. To date, 685 goats, mostly from Texas, have been tested. None have tested positive. The study is expected to continue for one year and will include slaughter goats from geographical areas where they may have been exposed to scrapie.
In the second study, scientists will evaluate rectal biopsies as a live animal test for scrapie. Samples will be collected from scrapie-exposed animals to determine the test's sentitivity and how its results compare to the third eyelid test, the first live animal test for scrapie. If performed properly, the third eyelid test is accurate and reliable, but getting sufficient tissue to test can be challenging.
Source: Sheep & Goat Health Report, A National Insitute for Animal Agriculture Publication, Spring 2007