First case of atypical scrapie detected in goats in Finland

3.4.2009

<div>The atypical form of scrapie has been detected in a goat in Southern Finland. Previously, the classical form of scrapie had been found in Finnish goats in 2002 and 2005. In sheep this atypical form has been detected previously, last time in 2007. The now discovered case of scrapie came to light when a 14-year-old pet goat, which had died of natural causes on the farm, was examined for scrapie at Evira in accordance with the regulations. </div>

The authorities have issued orders to the farm limiting the movements of animals in order to avoid the spread of the disease. The tracing of previous movements of animals to and from the farm is currently underway.

Scrapie is a common disease of small ruminants all over the world. There are different types of scrapie, classical and atypical. Atypical scrapie was detected for the first time in a sheep in Norway in 1998, which is why it is also called by the name Nor98. Atypical scrapie has been detected mainly in Europe due to the intensified control programs. It has only been reported a few times in goats as individual cases in for example in Greece, France, Italy and Switzerland. In Finland a total of 1,438 sheep and goats were examined for scrapie in 2008, all with negative results. In 2007 over 800,000 sheep and over 270,000 goats were examined for scrapie in the European Union. Over 3,500 cases of scrapie were detected in total.

The epidemiology of atypical scrapie is still unclear. It has been thought that it might emerge spontaneously. The animals it was detected in were generally older than those that have fallen ill with classical scrapie.

Scrapie is an animal disease of the TSE group (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies), which has never been found to have caused illness in humans.

More information on the TSE testing by the EU on the internet pages of the European Commission:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/bse/monitoring_en.htm  
http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/bse/preliminary_annual_report_tse2007_en.pdf  

For more information:
Monitoring: Senior Officer Sirpa Kiviruusu, tel. 0400 920 503
Diagnostics: Senior Researcher Hannele Tapiovaara, tel. 050 546 4856




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