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Farm Animal Practice
Control of classical scrapie in Great Britain
  1. Michael Dawson

    Michael Dawson graduated from London in 1974 and currently works for Animal Health, providing veterinary support to National Scrapie Plan operations. He holds an MSc in applied immunology and received the National Sheep Association George Hedley Memorial Award in 1997.

  2. Victor Del Rio Vilas

    Victor Del Rio Vilas graduated from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 1993 and, after two years in practice and four years as a sales manager for Purina, moved to the UK. He currently works for DEFRA as a veterinary adviser on general epidemiology. He holds an MBA, an MSc in veterinary epidemiology and a PhD for studies on biases in surveillance systems.


CLASSICAL scrapie has been recognised as a fatal neurological disease in sheep in Great Britain for almost 300 years and, until recently, control at flock level has been difficult to achieve. As with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), disease control strategies have been hampered by an inability to identify infected individuals before clinical signs are recognised. In 1999, in response to concerns raised as a result of human variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and the subsequent link to BSE, the sheep subgroup of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) recommended that there should be a long-term control programme aimed at eliminating scrapie from the national flock and protecting consumers from possible foodborne exposure to ovine BSE. Thus, the National Scrapie Plan (NSP) was launched in 2001. This article outlines the progress made so far by the NSP and considers its possible impact on scrapie surveillance data.

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