Submitted to: Veterinary Clinics of North America
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2000
Publication Date: July 1, 2001
Citation: Orourke, K.I. 2001. Ovine scrapie: New tools for control of an old disease. Veterinary Clinics of North America. p. 283-300. Interpretive Summary: Scrapie in sheep was introduced into the US in 1947 and is now endemic in most sheep-producing states. Recent advances in live animal diagnostics and testing for genetic resistance are the basis for a joint federal-state scrapie eradication program. A coordinated program of testing and management, involving the producer, extension and private veterinarians, and the regulatory agencies, should reduce the prevalance of scrapie over the next 10 years.
Technical Abstract: Ovine scrapie was described nearly 300 years ago and is endemic in many parts of the world. The recent emergence of a related bovine disease in the UK and Europe, with probable transmission to humans, has lent urgency to scrapie surveillance and control programs. The biology, genetics, diagnosis, and proposed routes of transmission can be understood in the context of the presumed causative agent, the prion protein. An integrated program of management and husbandry to reduce introduction and spread of the disease within a flock, diagnosis of preclinically infected sheep in both live animal and postmortem settings, and identification of breeding stock of very low risk of scrapie can form the basis of scrapie eradication programs.