Monday, January 28, 2008

Prevalence of scrapie in goats

While there have been only 19 cases of scrapie in goats reported since 1990, the extent to which the disease affects goats is not known. USDA is in the process of determining the prevalence of scrapie in the U.S. goat population.

goat with scrapie (FAO image)The study started in May of 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2008. The primary sampling sites are those most likely to slaughter goats that have been comingled with sheep and slaughter facilities which have found scrapie-infected sheep.

The goal of the study is to determine the prevalence of scrapie in goats. If no scrapie is found, there will be a 95 percent confidence that the prevalence is below 0.1 percent (1 in 1,000 goats).

USDA is currently conducting research to determine which codons affect scrapie susceptibility in goats. Currently, all goats test QQ, though it is not known if resistance /susceptibility is determined solely by codon 171.

Source: Sheep & Goat Health Report, Fall/Winter 2007