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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