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National Scrapie Eradication Program

National Scrapie Eradication Program

You Are the Key to Declaring the U.S. Free of Scrapie

Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) affecting sheep and goats. The presence of classical scrapie in the U.S. sheep and goat population affects industry economically through production losses, lost exports, and increased production and disposal costs. Public health concerns related to the transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to humans have resulted in efforts to eradicate all TSEs in food-producing animals.

Surveillance for scrapie in the United States is conducted through the National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP), a cooperative State-Federal-industry program. The surveillance components of the NSEP include:

  1. Regulatory Scrapie Slaughter Surveillance (RSSS);
  2. Non-slaughter surveillance (e.g., trace investigations, on-farm testing); and
  3. The Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program  (SFCP).

The program’s goals are to eradicate classical scrapie from the United States and to meet World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) criteria for disease freedom. Since 2002, the prevalence of scrapie has decreased significantly through existing eradication efforts, largely a result of effective slaughter surveillance.

Since slaughter surveillance stared in FY 2003, the percent of cull sheep found positive at slaughter (once adjusted for face color) has decreased 99 percent. However, in order to declare the U.S. “scrapie free”, we must be able to prove to the world that we have conducted testing in all sheep and goat populations. This is why your submission of samples from sheep/goats over 18 months of age found dead or euthanized on your farm is extremely important. Without your help, we will not be able to declare the US free of scrapie, costing the sheep and goat industries approximately $10 to $20 million, annually.

Remember: Educate, Report and Submit

  • Educate yourself on the clinical signs of scrapie.
  • Report. Contact your State Veterinarian or the USDA Veterinary Services Office for your state if your sheep or goat, older than 12 months, exhibits clinical signs of scrapie. Testing clinical suspects is the most cost effective way to find scrapie infected animals.
    • For more information contact the Designated Scrapie Epidemiologist (DSEs) and Contact Information (pdf 92kb) for your State.
  • Submit samples or whole heads from sheep and goats over 18 months of age that die or are euthanized on your premises. Additional information is available on how you or your veterinarian can submit samples or whole heads for scrapie testing.

Reports and National Updates

Annual Report (ppsx)
Monthly Report (ppsx)
Annual Report 
Monthly Report 

The Comment Period for a Proposed Rule to Update Scrapie Program Regulations Has Closed 

On September 10, 2015 APHIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the regulations for the National Scrapie Eradication Program.  The comment period closed December 9, 2015.  The Final Rule is being drafted. APHIS believes the update to the program will result in a more effective disease eradication program, with a more flexible approach to disease investigations and affected flock management and more consistent animal identification and recordkeeping requirements.

Program Information, Regulations and Guidance

Additional Information


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