Infectious agent of sheep scrapie may persist in the environment for at least 16 years
Gudmundur Georgsson,1 Sigurdur Sigurdarson2 and Paul Brown3
1Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur v/vesturlandsveg, IS-112 Reykjav ́ık, Iceland
2Laboratory of the Chief Veterinary Officer, Keldur, Iceland 3Bethesda, Maryland, USA
In 1978, a rigorous programme was implemented to stop the spread of, and subsequently eradicate, sheep scrapie in Iceland. Affected flocks were culled, premises were disinfected and, after 2-3 years, restocked with lambs from scrapie-free areas.
Between 1978 and 2004, scrapie recurred on 33 farms.
Nine of these recurrences occurred 14-21 years after culling, apparently as the result of environmental contamination, but outside entry could not always be absolutely excluded.
Of special interest was one farm with a small, completely self-contained flock where scrapie recurred 18 years after culling, 2 years after some lambs had been housed in an old sheep- house that had never been disinfected.
Epidemiological investigation established with near certitude that the disease had not been introduced from the outside and it is concluded that the agent may have persisted in the old sheep-house for at least 16 years.
*** Infectious agent of sheep scrapie may persist in the environment for at least 16 years ***
*** Nine of these recurrences occurred 14-21 years after culling, apparently as the result of environmental contamination, but outside entry could not always be absolutely excluded. ***
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Research Project: Immunodiagnostics to Detect Prions and Other Important Animal Pathogens
Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research
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