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Farm Animal Practice
Scrapie in sheep and goats
  1. Neil Sargison

    Neil Sargison graduated from Cambridge in 1984 and worked in farm animal practice in the north east of Scotland for eight years before joining the Large Animal Practice Teaching Unit at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh. In 1994, he gained the diploma in sheep health and production.


SCRAPIE is a primary spongiform encephalopathy of sheep and goats which has been recognised in the United Kingdom since the mid-18th century. In other species, scrapie-contaminated material has been suggested as a cause of neurological disease such as transmissible mink encephalopathy and possibly bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Human Creutzfeld-Jakob disease and kuru, and chronic wasting disease of Rocky Mountain elk, are similar but unrelated diseases. Scrapie in sheep and goats has been notifiable in the UK since January 1, 1993, and is known to be widespread. In endemically infected and genetically susceptible flocks it is an important cause of economic loss. The disease probably originated in Spanish Merino flocks and is now of economic importance in Europe and North America. Although it has on occasions been introduced to Australia and New Zealand, prompt identification and slaughter of imported sheep has kept these countries scrapie-free.

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