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From: TSS ()
Date: November 17, 2005 at 11:48 am PST


By Steve Pointing Senior Veterinary Officer

For the November “Wool Press”

The first case of scrapie has been diagnosed in the Falkland Islands. It was found at Cape Dolphin in a seven-year old , home bred ewe which has always bred naturally and has not been involved in any AI of ET programme. HOWEVER, this case has been confirmed as being of a type called ATYPICAL scrapie as it does not follow the normal pattern shown in sheep with CLASICAL scrapie. Although classical scrapie has been known for over 250 years, the first case of atypical scrapie was first diagnosed in Norway in 1998. Because of the worldwide interest in this disease sheep have been submitted to far greater scrutiny than in the past with the result that new conditions are being diagnosed. More details about this condition will be given in the December edition of the Wool Press but in the meantime I would refer you back to an article written on the subject in the Wool Press of November 2004. We need your help in discovering how widespread this condition is in the Falkland Islands.

In the meantime there is no need to be overly concerned as the diagnosis of this single case is not likely to affect the export of wool or sheep meat. There may be longer term consequences for the export of live sheep and their genetic material.


A Vet’s life in The Falkland Islands


Another very interesting and

ongoing project is connected with

improving the quality of wool and

meat in Falkland Island sheep. The

mainstay of farming in the Falkland

Islands is the annual wool clip.

Although Corriedales give a relatively

fine fleece by UK breed standards

they are considered to be

of medium fineness (average 25-

27 microns) by manufacturers

whereas the higher prices are paid

for finer fleece wool of 22 microns

or less. Some laparoscopic Artificial

Insemination has been carried out

on a small number of farms and

with a small number of sheep over

the past 15 years. However,

starting in June 2003 and continuing

into 2004 a much larger programme

of AI and Embryo Transfer

has been instituted. In 2003

approximately 2000 ewes were

artificially inseminated and about

500 embryos were transferred; in

2004 this has been followed up

with an almost identical programme.

The genetic material has

been imported from Australia and

New Zealand and consists of the

following breeds: Dohne Merinos,

South African Mutton Merinos

(SAMM), Bond Merinos, Polworths

and Cormos. The idea behind this

programme is to increase the

fineness of the fleece and, at the

same time, produce a sheep or

A Vet’s life in The Falkland Islands


Figure 4 Reindeer

Figure 5 Laparoscopic Artificial Insemination

lamb with a better carcase for the

meat export market. At this point

in time we still do not know which

breed will thrive best in the

Falklands’ harsh climate but evaluation

of breeds will take place over

the next few years enabling the

DoA to make recommendations to

the farming community. Next

year’s programme is even more

ambitious with a target of transferring

up to 7000 embryos, many

of which will have been flushed

from our own best ewes. These are

exciting times as far as the sheep

industry is concerned.

1: J Infect Dis 1980 Aug;142(2):205-8

Oral transmission of kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and scrapie to nonhuman primates.

Gibbs CJ Jr, Amyx HL, Bacote A, Masters CL, Gajdusek DC.

Kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease of humans and scrapie disease of sheep and goats were transmitted to squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) that were exposed to the infectious agents only by their nonforced consumption of known infectious tissues. The asymptomatic incubation period in the one monkey exposed to the virus of kuru was 36 months; that in the two monkeys exposed to the virus of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was 23 and 27 months, respectively; and that in the two monkeys exposed to the virus of scrapie was 25 and 32 months, respectively. Careful physical examination of the buccal cavities of all of the monkeys failed to reveal signs or oral lesions. One additional monkey similarly exposed to kuru has remained asymptomatic during the 39 months that it has been under observation.

PMID: 6997404

Office Note


A The Present Position with respect to Scrapie
A] The Problem

Scrapie is a natural disease of sheep and goats. It is a slow
and inexorably progressive degenerative disorder of the nervous system
and it ia fatal. It is enzootic in the United Kingdom but not in all

The field problem has been reviewed by a MAFF working group
(ARC 35/77). It is difficult to assess the incidence in Britain for
a variety of reasons but the disease causes serious financial loss;
it is estimated that it cost Swaledale breeders alone $l.7 M during
the five years 1971-1975. A further inestimable loss arises from the
closure of certain export markets, in particular those of the United
States, to British sheep.

It is clear that scrapie in sheep is important commercially and
for that reason alone effective measures to control it should be
devised as quickly as possible.

Recently the question has again been brought up as to whether
scrapie is transmissible to man. This has followed reports that the
disease has been transmitted to primates. One particularly lurid
speculation (Gajdusek 1977) conjectures that the agents of scrapie,
kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and transmissible encephalopathy of
mink are varieties of a single "virus". The U.S. Department of
Agriculture concluded that it could "no longer justify or permit
scrapie-blood line and scrapie-exposed sheep and goats to be processed
for human or animal food at slaughter or rendering plants" (ARC 84/77)"
The problem is emphasised by the finding that some strains of scrapie
produce lesions identical to the once which characterise the human

Whether true or not. the hypothesis that these agents might be
transmissible to man raises two considerations. First, the safety
of laboratory personnel requires prompt attention. Second, action
such as the "scorched meat" policy of USDA makes the solution of the
acrapie problem urgent if the sheep industry is not to suffer



Adaptation of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent to primates and comparison with Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease: Implications for human health
Corinne Ida Lasmézas*,, Jean-Guy Fournier*, Virginie Nouvel*, Hermann Boe*, Domíníque Marcé*, François Lamoury*, Nicolas Kopp, Jean-Jacques Hauw§, James Ironside¶, Moira Bruce, Dominique Dormont*, and Jean-Philippe Deslys*

* Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, Service de Neurovirologie, Direction des Sciences du Vivant/Département de Recherche Medicale, Centre de Recherches du Service de Santé des Armées 60-68, Avenue du Général Leclerc, BP 6, 92 265 Fontenay-aux-Roses Cedex, France; Hôpital Neurologique Pierre Wertheimer, 59, Boulevard Pinel, 69003 Lyon, France; § Laboratoire de Neuropathologie, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, 83, Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France; ¶ Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, United Kingdom; and Institute for Animal Health, Neuropathogenesis Unit, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JF, United Kingdom

Edited by D. Carleton Gajdusek, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, and approved December 7, 2000 (received for review October 16, 2000)


There is substantial scientific evidence to support the notion that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has contaminated human beings, causing variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). This disease has raised concerns about the possibility of an iatrogenic secondary transmission to humans, because the biological properties of the primate-adapted BSE agent are unknown. We show that (i) BSE can be transmitted from primate to primate by intravenous route in 25 months, and (ii) an iatrogenic transmission of vCJD to humans could be readily recognized pathologically, whether it occurs by the central or peripheral route. Strain typing in mice demonstrates that the BSE agent adapts to macaques in the same way as it does to humans and confirms that the BSE agent is responsible for vCJD not only in the United Kingdom but also in France. The agent responsible for French iatrogenic growth hormone-linked CJD taken as a control is very different from vCJD but is similar to that found in one case of sporadic CJD and one sheep scrapie isolate. These data will be key in identifying the origin of human cases of prion disease, including accidental vCJD transmission, and could provide bases for vCJD risk assessment.


Characterization of the CJD and Scrapie Strains. Controls were set up by transmitting one French and one U.S. scrapie isolate from ruminants as well as French sCJD and iCJD cases from humans. None of these revealed a lesion profile or transmission characteristics similar or close to those of BSE or vCJD, respectively, thus extending to the present French scrapie isolate the previous observation that the BSE agent was different from all known natural scrapie strains (4, 24).

The lesion profiles of sCJD and iCJD differed only slightly in severity of the lesions, but not in shape of the profile, revealing the identity of the causative agents. One of us reported the absence of similarity between sCJD (six cases) and U.K. scrapie (eight cases) in transmission characteristics in mice (4). Herein, we made the striking observation that the French natural scrapie strain (but not the U.S. scrapie strain) has the same lesion profile and transmission times in C57BL/6 mice as do the two human TSE strains studied. This strain "affiliation" was confirmed biochemically. There is no epidemiological evidence for a link between sheep scrapie and the occurrence of CJD in humans (25). However, such a link, if it is not a general rule, would be extremely difficult to establish because of the very low incidence of CJD as well as the existence of different isolates in humans and multiple strains in scrapie. Moreover, scrapie is transmissible to nonhuman primates (26). Thus, there is still a possibility that in some instances TSE strains infecting humans do share a common origin with scrapie, as pointed out by our findings.



From BSE and vCJD transmissions in nonhuman primates, a number of conclusions can be drawn that are of major importance for human health: (i) human-adapted BSE appears to be a variant of the BSE agent that is more virulent for humans than cattle BSE and is efficiently transmitted by the peripheral route; (ii) the detection of vCJD in unusually young patients is probably not because of a lack of diagnosis of cases in older patients, thus raising the question of the source of human contamination with BSE early in life; and (iii) iatrogenic transmissions from patients with vCJD would be readily recognized by using the same diagnostic criteria as those applied to vCJD [clinical and pathological criteria (27) comprising neuronal loss and gliosis in the thalamus correlated with high MRI signal (28, 29)], whether such contaminations had occurred by the central or i.v. route. Primary and iatrogenic cases of vCJD could be distinguished on the basis of the patient's clinical history.

The risk assessment of biological products of human origin, notably those derived from blood, has been deeply modified by the appearance of vCJD. We confirm that the BSE agent has contaminated humans not only in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland but also in France, and we show that its pathogenic properties for primates are being enhanced by a primary passage in humans. Considering the flow of potentially contaminated bovine-derived products between 1980 and 1996, it is obvious that further vCJD cases may occur outside the U.K. Thus, and in the light of the present study, it is necessary to sustain worldwide CJD surveillance regardless of national BSE incidence and to take all precautionary measures to avoid iatrogenic transmissions from vCJD.


Scrapie USA August 2005 (documented only cases)

Infected and Source Flocks

As of August 31, 2005, there were 115 scrapie infected and source flocks (figure 3). There were 3 new infected and source flocks reported in August (Figure 4) with a total of 148 flocks reported for FY 2005 (Figure 5). The total infected and source flocks that have been released in FY 2005 are 102 (Figure 6), with 5 flocks released in August. The ratio of infected and source flocks released to newly infected and source flocks for FY 2005 = 0.69 :
1. In addition, as of August 31, 2005, 574 scrapie cases have been confirmed and reported by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), of which 122 were RSSS cases (Figure 7). This includes 55 newly confirmed cases in August 2005 (Figure 8). Fifteen cases of scrapie in goats have been reported since 1990 (Figure 9). The last goat case was reported in May 2005.


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