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:
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.
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Final Rule to Update Scrapie Program Regulations has been Published
The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2019. APHIS believes the Final Rule 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 between sheep and goats. Many of the specifics requirements regarding official eartags and official ID methods such as tattoos and implantable electronic ID (microchips) and on how indemnity is calculated have been moved to the Scrapie Program Standards, Volume 1: National Scrapie Eradication Program.