The National Scrapie Eradication Program: Questions and Answers
February 15, 2004
Feb. 2004 -- The following scrapie question-and-answer piece is the ninth such column to appear in Sheep Industry News. It is being brought to you by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, which oversees the National Scrapie Eradication Program. If you have a program-related question you?d like answered, please e-mail it to Sheep Industry News Editor Laura Gerhard at email@example.com, fax it to her attention at (303) 771-8200 or write: ASI; Attn: Laura Gerhard, 9785 S. Maroon Circle, Suite 360, Centennial, CO 80112-2692.
Q: In addition to the information ASI provides producers through its publications and internet Web site, what other internet sites are available with information regarding the Accelerated Scrapie Eradication Program and Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP)?
A: There are two sites I would recommend as starters. The first is www.animalagriculture.org/scrapie, which contains basic producer friendly information about the scrapie eradication program; the other is www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahps/scrapie/. The APHIS Web site provides in-depth presentations on scrapie program regulations as well as summaries of activities within the programs. Lists of flocks and herds enrolled in the SFCP can also be found on this site. State and Federal veterinarians in your state are also excellent sources of information.
Q: Many sheep producers also raise goats or have friends and neighbors that raise goats. How does the scrapie program involve goats?
A: Goats can be infected with scrapie, and they can transmit the disease to other goats and sheep. The time of greatest risk of transmission is at kidding time from contact with the fluid discharged at birth and with the placenta. The animals most at risk would be the infected nanny?s kid(s) and any other kids or lambs born around the same time in the same pen. Scrapie in goats, which is rare, has not been researched nearly as extensively as in sheep. No resistant genotypes have been identified in goats. At present all goats are treated as being as susceptible to scrapie infection as the most susceptible genotypes in sheep. Goats that are exhibited at fairs and other shows have the same identification requirements as sheep. Breeding goats leaving their farm of origin must be properly identified. In the Scrapie Flock Certification Program tattoos are permissible means of identification in several breeds of goats that are members of approved breed registries. The tattoo must contain the goat?s unique herd identification number plus a unique individual animal identification number. This tattoo must be recorded in the breed registry and be available for use in scrapie program traceback activities. Official breed tattoos are approved identification for interstate movement as long as the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (interstate health paper) has an attached copy of the animal?s registration paper containing the tattoo number. The Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH) is planning a surveillance study of mature slaughter goats in 2005 to estimate the prevalence of scrapie in mature goats.