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Breeding For Scrapie Resistance Reduces Cases

06 August 2014

EU – The last ten years have seen classical scrapie reduce in member states where breeding programmes have been implemented effectively.

This is the finding of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment of the condition since control and monitoring measures were introduced in 2004.

EFSA’s panel on biological hazards has stated eradication policies depending solely on detection and culling of infected flock is unlikely to succeed unless a breeding programme for resistance is included.

“Sheep with a particular genetic makeup are resistant to Classical scrapie and breeding choices allow an increase in the flock’s resistance to the disease,” said Giuseppe Ru, EFSA chair for the Working Group on scrapie.

EFSA experts concluded that Classical scrapie in sheep may die out if the percentage of resistant sheep is above a certain threshold.

Occurrence of Classical scrapie varies greatly across the EU and its evolution over time should be considered country-by-country. Overall, it has been reported in 17 Member States; in some of them cases have decreased over time, while in others no clear trend was observed.

EFSA experts recommend strengthening surveillance activities to detect infected flocks and control the disease, increasing the implementation of breeding programmes for resistance in sheep and starting their use in goats too.


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