Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. It is among a number of diseases classified as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). Infected flocks that contain a high percentage of susceptible animals can experience significant production losses. Over a period of several years the number of infected animals increases, and the age at onset of clinical signs (see photos) decreases making these flocks economically unviable. Animals sold from infected flocks spread scrapie to other flocks.
The presence of scrapie in the United States also prevents the export of breeding stock, semen, and embryos to many other countries. TSEs are the subject of increased attention and concern because of the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, the link between BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in people, and feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) in cats in Europe. See Factsheet for more detail.
Scrapie Ovine Slaughter Surveiliance (SOSS) - The objective of the SOSS was to estimate the national and regional prevalence of scrapie in mature sheep. The study was released in March 2004.