Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Five goats diagnosed with scrapie

Five goats from a farm in Michigan have been diagnosed with the fatal brain disease scrapie. Scrapie was first detected in a 3-year old 4-H Nubian goat in December 2007. Since then, scrapie was diagnosed in four other Nubian and Alpine goats. All goats in the herd have been destroyed to prevent spread of the disease.

Angora goat with scrapie (USDA APHIS image)How the first goat contacted the disease is unknown. The animal was born in 2004 and transferred to another farm in 2007. Sheep had previously been raised on the second farm, but the goat did not have direct contact with any sheep. Officials wonder if there may have been a carryover of infective material in the soil or vegetation.

While Michigan goats no longer meet federal criteria for "low-risk," the diagnosis of scrapie in five goats does not portend a disease outbreak. It underscores the importance of animal and premise identification. Scrapie is not known to pose a human health threat.

Goats with contagious brain disease destroyed
Eradicate Scrapie! - National Institute for Animal Health