Follow Ups | Post Followup | Back to Discussion Board | VegSource
See spam or
inappropriate posts?
Please let us know.

From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr. (
Subject: New scrapie fear after sheep tests
Date: December 8, 2004 at 11:31 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: New scrapie fear after sheep tests
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 13:08:53 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

New scrapie fear after sheep tests


THE sheep industry was put on edge yesterday following an announcement
by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London
that tests had thrown up a new strain of scrapie, the fatal brain
disease of sheep associated with BSE in cattle and, by implication,
variant CJD in humans.

However, senior officials with both Defra and the Scottish Executives
Environment and Rural Affairs Department were at pains to stress that
this discovery is not linked to BSE and that there is no need for
concern over food safety.

But what is of major concern is that the fact that the government funded
Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) in Weybridge, Surrey, has confirmed
that 83 "atypical" cases of scrapie have been found over the past three
years in 110,000 sheep brains tested. More worrying is the
acknowledgement that of those abnormal results, 12 have been found in
sheep with the genotype normally associated with the highest resistance
to scrapie.

A statement from Defra confirmed that the National Scrapie Plan (NSP),
which aims to rid the 37 million-strong UK sheep flock of this disease,
will continue in its current form. The UK, with the largest sheep flock
in the EU, is ahead of all other member states, with the exception of
the Netherlands, in achieving its goal of scrapie-free status by 2010.

Three years ago, the UK government and the devolved administrations drew
up a contingency plan that in the event of a proven link between scrapie
and BSE virtually every sheep would be slaughtered. That plan proved to
be based on a flawed scientific assessment.

The UK is obliged, under direction from the European Commission, to
conduct brain tests each year on 10,000 sheep over 18 months of age
which are processed in abattoirs, as well as a similar total that die on
farms. Results to date have revealed that only 0.3 per cent of these
sheep have been infected with scrapie, many devoid of clinical symptoms.
However, it has been almost impossible to trace the 83 "atypical" cases
back to the farm of origin. This has prompted fears that the EU will
insist that the UK puts in place an individual identification scheme for

This has been resisted by the UK on the grounds that no other member
state runs sheep on an extensive regime, such as in the Highlands and on
the Welsh mountains where stocking rates are very low. Tagging every
lamb at birth and recording maternal details would be all but
impossible. A spokesperson for NFU Scotland expressed support for the
NSP. "We knew that abnormal cases could be thrown up, given the scale of
the testing regime, which promotes the most resistant genotypes. These
will not be guaranteed as totally resistant, but they represent the best
options for producers."

That is the standard response from the industry, but clearly the
prospect of individual ID for every single sheep is one that is not
welcome in the short term. "We have a robust system of flock and batch
movement. A non-electronic, pen and paper approach to individual ID
recording would be totally unworkable," the NFU spokesperson said.

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



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

PMID: 6997404

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

Infected and Source Flocks

As of September 30, 2004, there were 67 scrapie infected and source
flocks (figure 3
There were a total of 100** new infected and source flocks reported for
FY 2004 (figure 4
The total infected and source flocks that have been released in FY 2004
are 77 (figure 5
The percent of new infected and source flocks cleaned up or on clean up
plans was 96%. In addition, as of September 30, 2004, 368 scrapie cases
have been confirmed and reported by the National Veterinary Services
Laboratories (NVSL) in FY 2004, of which 54 were RSSS cases (figure 6
and figure 7
Thirteen cases of scrapie in goats have been reported since 1990 (figure
One new goat case was reported in FY 2004. New infected flocks, source
flocks, and flocks released for FY 2004 are depicted in chart 4
One new goat case was reported in FY 2004. Approximately 3,058 animals
were indemnified comprised of 47% non-registered sheep, 44% registered
sheep, 6% non-registered goats and 1% registered goats.

Scrapie: Ovine Slaughter Surveillance (SOSS)

The Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH) released the
results of the Phase II: SOSS study The objective of
SOSS was to estimate the national and regional prevalence of scrapie in
mature cull ewes. Prior to the SOSS study, the prevalence of scrapie in
the United States was estimated to be 0.07 percent (based on information
from NAHMS Sheep 96, unpublished data). The SOSS study estimate for the
national prevalence in mature ewes is 0.20 percent. The prevalence phase
of the SOSS study started April 1, 2002, and continued through March 31,
2003. During this time period, samples were collected from 12,508 mature
sheep at 22 slaughter facilities, as well as a major livestock market.

Of the 12,508 sheep tested, 33* were found to be scrapie positive: 27
black face; 3 mottled face; 1* white face; and 2 of unknown face color.
Note: The raw prevalence is higher than the weighted prevalence. The
difference is the result of weighting each positive based on the number
of sheep sampled and the number of sheep killed at each plant.

Regulatory Scrapie Slaughter Surveillance (RSSS)

RSSS started April 1, 2003. It is a targeted slaughter surveillance
program which is designed to identify infected flocks for clean-up.
Samples have been collected from 34,661 sheep since April 1, 2003, of
which results have been reported for 28,677. Samples have been submitted
from 42 plants (figure 9
The state identified on the tag of sampled animals is shown in figure 10
There have been 77 NVSL confirmed positive sheep. There have been 54
NVSL confirmed positive cases in FY 2004. Face colors of these positives
were 46 black, 6 mottled, and 2 white. The Six Month Rolling Average of
Percent Scrapie Positive Black and Mottled Faced Sheep is shown in chart
The number of RSSS samples collected by month**, region and total in FY
2004 are shown in chart 7

Scrapie Testing

In FY 2004, 28,430 animals have been tested for scrapie: 25,178 RSSS;
2,687 regulatory field cases; 461 regulatory third eyelid biopsies; 13
third eyelid validations; and 91 necropsy validations (chart 8

Animal ID

As of September 30, 2004, 90,322 sheep and goat premises have been
assigned identification numbers in the Scrapie National Generic
Database. Official eartags have been issued to 64,040 of these premises.

*This number was decreased by one case as a result of a clerical error
compared to the FY 2003 annual report.
**Differences appear between this report and the September 2004 report
due to late reporting of RSSS testing and quality review of status data
As of May 2004 we are reporting only NVSL confirmed positive cases.

Greetings list members,

Thought I should let the list know that Dr. Detwiler kindly replied to
my question about the delayed 'atypical' TSE testing in the Vermont
sheep and tried to explain what caused the delay. If I interpreted it
correctly, seems it was the fault of the U.K. ;

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Sheep
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 14:26:04 EDT

Mr. Singeltary. I hope this finds you well. As you are aware I left the
USDA last year. I can only update you on the sheep before that time.
Contact was established with the UK on doing the bioassay studies. They
agreed. However, we were prioritized after their own needs, hence the
delay. I am aware that there are now additional labs in Europe running
the mouse bioassay strain typing. You will have to contact USDA for
further word.

Linda Detwiler


My reply to Dr. Detwiler;

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: Sheep
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 13:53:57 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
References: <>

hello Dr. Detwiler, thanks for your kind reply.
> However, we were prioritized after their own needs, hence the delay.
not sure i understand that?
> You will have to contact USDA for further word. already done that,
and there answer was;

> >Dear Mr. Singeltary,
> >The Western blot tests on these animals were completed in April of this
>year. That means that we can begin the mouse inoculations. To get the
>results of the Western blot tests, you will need to submit a Freedom of
>Information Act request through our FOIA office. The FAX number there is
> >Have a nice day,
> >Jim Rogers

and with my previous attempts for information via the FOIA through this
administration (as you are probably very well aware of) they have all
been ignored/refused. so any further attempts would be fruitless i am
sure. thanks anyway... kindest regards, Terry wrote: >
Mr. Singeltary. snip... end

SO we must wait another two years, and maybe more...


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

E-mail: (optional)


Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: