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National Scrapie Eradication Program

Proposed Rule to Update Scrapie Program Regulations Available for Review and Comment

On September 10, 2015 APHIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the regulations for the National Scrapie Eradication Program.  The proposed changes to the program are based on current scientific understanding of scrapie as well as input from the sheep and goat sectors and the public.  APHIS believes the proposed changes 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.   The main changes would include:

  • Making the identification and recordkeeping requirements for goat owners consistent with those for sheep owners
  • Formalizing the use of genetic testing to assign risk levels to sheep
  • Providing the APHIS Administrator with the authority to relieve requirements for sheep and goats exposed to scrapie types, such as Nor98-like, that do not pose a significant risk of transmission
  • Increasing flexibility for how investigations can be conducted and allowing the epidemiology in a specific flock to be given more consideration in determining flock and animal status
  • Requiring States to meet surveillance minimums to remain Consistent States.  Surveillance minimums are based on the number of breeding sheep or goats in the state.
  • Moving the following from the regulation to the APHIS website in the form of program standards to allow quicker response to new information:
    • List of Consistent States
    • Allowed identification devices and methods and restrictions on their use
    • Disease status classification procedures for flocks and animals
    • Program approved tests for scrapie and scrapie susceptibility and procedures for their use
    • Specifics on how fair market value is calculated for indemnity purposes
  • Removes requirement to record individual official identification already on animals when received or purchased
  • Adds requirement for an owner hauler statement for animals in slaughter channels.

APHIS is seeking comments on the proposed rule through November 9, 2015.

Members of the public can obtain a copy of the proposed rule and submit comments at Federal eRulemaking Portal:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127.

APHIS is also seeking comments on the draft Scrapie Program Standards, Volume 1: National Scrapie Eradication Program through November 9, 2015 which has been revised based on the proposed 9 CFR changes and includes the material that the proposed rule indicates will be published on the APHIS Scrapie Web page.  The proposed Web page information is also provided in separate document for easy reference.  To submit comments on the program standards, web page information or proposed rule, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127. Comments may also be submitted by Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Summary of the proposed updates to the National Scrapie Eradication Program

Overview presentation of the more significant changes (ppsx)

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 90 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)
Annual Report (pdf)
Monthly Report (ppsx)
Monthly Report (pdf)

Program Information, Regulations and Guidance

Additional Information