What is scrapie?

Sheep, Goats December 05, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Scrapie (also classified as a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy)  is a slow, progressive disorder of the central nervous system of sheep and to a lessor extent, goats.

  • The causative agent of scrapie is a prion (a highly infectious, heat tolerant, protein).
  • Goats acquire scrapie when housed with infected sheep.
  • In the U.S., the reported incidence of scrapie in goats is low and when diagnosed, it has been in young kids.
  • The course of infection however, is lifelong and fatal.
  • Continued surveillance efforts by the USDA/APHIS has not found scrapie to be a public health or zoonotic disease risk to humans.
  • Genetic testing for susceptibility to scrapie is currently being done in sheep, with similar tests underway for the got industry. 
  • The best management practices a producer can employ to prevent scrapie is to maintain a closed breeding goat herd of known uninfected animals, maintain good record keeping and selection within breeding stock.

For more information please visit: www.eradicatescrapie.org or http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/scrapie