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From: TSS (
Subject: TSEs in Great Britain 2003 A Progress Report DEFRA
Date: August 13, 2004 at 6:53 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: TSEs in Great Britain 2003 A Progress Report DEFRA
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 22:35:03 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #########

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) in Great Britain
2003  A Progress Report DEFRA


This report provides information about
progress made towards eradicating
transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
(TSEs) in Great Britain in 2003 and the
measures taken to protect public and
animal health.
The report is divided into 9 sections.
Topics covered include controls on BSE, the
continuing efforts to lift the ban on beef
exports, a separate section on sheep TSEs
and details of the extensive research being
undertaken into TSEs.
Section 1 provides a snapshot of the
current BSE situation  for example how
cases are detected, how many BSE cases
have been confirmed since the reinforced
feed ban of 1 August 1996, how we
compare with other Member States and
third countries and, linked to that, the UK
Governments application to the European
Commission for what is known as Moderate
Risk Status which will enable us to compete
again with much of Europe by re-opening
important export markets for UK Beef.
Section 2 covers BSE controls, including
the feed ban, controls on Specified Risk
Material (i.e. those parts of a bovine
animal which are regarded as the most
susceptible to BSE infection) and the
surveillance programme.
Section 3 has been provided by the
Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and
details the progress of the BSE epidemic from
1986 to the end of 2003. This section contains
a number of useful charts and graphs, again
highlighting our significant progress in
controlling this disease.
Section 4 focuses on efforts to increase beef
exports. It was very encouraging that a number
of countries lifted their bans during 2003 but
more is being done to increase exports.
Section 5 is devoted to the work being
undertaken to eradicate scrapie in sheep and
goats, notably the National Scrapie Plan and
the scrapie flocks schemes.
Section 6  on variant Creutzfeldt Jakob
Disease (vCJD)  has been provided by the
Department of Health.
Section 7 explains in more detail the role of
SEAC  the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory
Committee who advise ministers on TSE issues.
Section 8 covers the extensive TSE research
programme that Defra funds and includes a list
of projects in progress as of January 2004.
As with previous reports there is a glossary and
an index together with a separate section on
acronyms and abbreviations. A new feature this
time is the further information at Section 9.
Further information on BSE is available on the
Departments website at:
This report is also available from the
Publications Section of the Defra website:
Previous reports for six-month periods from
1 July 1998  31 December 2002 inclusive can
also be accessed from the Publications section
of the website.
Executive summary


TSE surveillance in deer in Great
Britain in 2003
" Deer in some parts of the world can suffer
from a TSE known as Chronic Wasting
Disease (CWD). To date no case of CWD
has been found in GB. Although there is
currently no structured active surveillance
for TSEs in deer, some work to test the
laboratory techniques began in 2002 and
continued in 2003. Deer which had been
submitted for TB surveillance were also
examined for TSEs. Most of the animals were
road kills. Over 60 percent were roe deer.
Results are available on tissues from
over 400 animals and all are negative.
" In 2003, animals from the annual cull in the
Royal Parks were also examined. Results are
available on 180 animals. Again, all are


BSE in Sheep
" Work on a contingency plan for the
emergence of naturally occurring BSE in
sheep was formally launched with a
consultation document in September 2001,
at the time when the Government
responded to the Phillips Inquiry into BSE
in cattle.
" Work on BSE in sheep, and in particular the
measures likely to be taken to protect public
health was taken further forward by the
Food Standards Agency which set up a core
stakeholder group in early 2002. This Group
reported back to the FSA Board in June
" SEAC advised in 2001 that, in the event of
BSE being found in sheep, measures to
protect public health would have to based
on genotyping and age cut-offs. This advice
was reconfirmed by SEAC in June and
November 2003. This approach is consistent
with the European Commissions own
guidelines on contingency planning for BSE
in small ruminants (issued in January 2003
and revised slightly the following April).
The UK BSE in Sheep Contingency Plan is
relatively advanced. We intend to issue the
plan for consultation before Easter 20041.
The plan has been developed by Defra,
the Department of Health, the Devolved
Administrations in Wales, Scotland and
Northern Ireland and the Food Standards
" The plan sets out the measures which, based
on current knowledge and expert advice, are
likely to have to be taken to respond to the
finding of naturally occurring BSE in sheep
(and goats). The purpose of these measures
would be to protect public health, safeguard
animal welfare and manage the impact on
the livestock sector and the environment.
Our aim is to enable the sector to recover
and supply the food chain as quickly as
" The plan is predicated on advice from
SEAC/Food Standards Agency to allow into
the food chain only ARR homozygous and
ARR heterozygous animals, and for the latter
 only at under 12 months of age. Our aim
therefore is to establish rapid, practicable
and cost-effective methods for using
genotyping to set up a flock or progeny
certification scheme, based on the genotype
of breeding rams. References to sheep in the
plan include goats. However, there are no
known genotypes in goats which are
resistant to scrapie (and, as far as we know,
BSE). This means that a genotype-based
control strategy (as is proposed for sheep)
could not be used for goats. Other strategies
will have to be developed for goats. In
parallel there would be a limited and phased
disposal programme for animals which could
not go into the food chain.
" The plan will be supplemented by more
detailed operational plans for each of the
UKs four administrations. These will cover
the implementation and delivery of measures
for genotypying, flock certification, disposal
and communications. These detailed plans
will be discussed with stakeholders in due
For further information go to the Defra
1 The BSE in Sheep Contingency Plan was issued for consultation on 2
June 2004. Closing date for responses is 31 August 2004.
Section 6
Variant CJD
Cases to date
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) is a form of
TSE found in humans and thought to be linked
to BSE. As at 5 January 2004, there were 145
cases of definite or probable variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the United
Kingdom of whom 139 had died1. The
Department of Health has responsibility for
monitoring the incidence of vCJD and provide
further details on this at their website: (http://:
Current trend
Analysis of the latest quarterly data for deaths
from vCJD in the UK continues to show
statistically significant evidence that the
epidemic is no longer increasing exponentially.
The quadratic statistical model suggests that
the epidemic may have reached a peak in
August 1999 for disease onset. It remains
premature to conclude that there is definitive
evidence that the epidemic has peaked and the
data cannot discount further peaks in the
CJD-related research funded by the
Department of Health is directed primarily to
supporting the Departments policies for
disease control. Currently these policies are
designed to estimate the size of the current
epidemic, prevent secondary transmission and
develop therapeutic agents.
Consequently research proposals in the
following areas are invited:
" Epidemiology and surveillance
" Blood safety
" Tissue infectivity and strain typing
" Diagnosis and detection
" The development and assessment of
therapeutic drugs
" Decontamination.
1 As at 7 June 2004 there were 146 definite or probable cases, of whom
141 had died.



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