Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scrapie surveillance in goats

A potential stumbling block to scrapie eradication has been identified that needs to be addressed. Last fiscal year, for the first time, there were more scrapie field cases in goats than in sheep.

Scrapie ear tag
In FY 2008 and 2011, two significant scrapie outbreaks occurred in goats involving a total of 18 positive goats. The initial case in each outbreak was discovered through owner submission of a suspect animal. In one outbreak, while sheep had resided on the farm years earlier, none of the positive goats had come in contact with sheep.

In the other outbreak, the positive goats no longer resided with sheep. This indicates that to eradicate scrapie from the United States it will be necessary to conduct slaughter surveillance in goats similar to what is being done for sheep.

The current goat identification rules are inadequate to allow for effective slaughter surveillance in goats. To address this situation USDA is planning to publish a proposed rule that will consider making the identification requirements for goats similar to those currently in place for sheep.

Source:  Quarterly Scrapie Newsletter. June 12, 2012.

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