- From ProMED-mail
- Canada Scrapie Sheep Slaughter Continues
- The federal government is continuing the slaughter of
thousands of sheep in eastern Quebec in an attempt to control the spread
of scrapie, the sheep version of mad cow disease.
- Since 1998, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
has ordered the slaughter of 21 992 Quebec sheep, including 1048 so far
- "It's important to keep in mind that this is not
an epidemic situation," said Christiane Allard, a veterinarian in
charge of disease control for the agency.
- In 1998, an outbreak of scrapie led to the slaughter
of 8000 sheep in eastern Quebec. Thousands of sheep have since been slaughtered
each year as new cases have emerged. "The control program is different
than it was at that time," Allard said. "We are in a better position
to control the spread, we hope."
- Jean-Francois Samray of the Quebec Sheep Federation said
the new cases are all connected to the 1998 outbreak. Sheep with scrapie
can take up to 5 years to show signs, he said. They can also pass the disease
to newborn lambs.
- "This should reassure Canadians that the system
is working," said Samray. "They're all related to the original
phase." Many countries including Canada have renewed efforts to control
scrapie after the British mad cow epidemic.
- In 2004, Canadian sheep producers will be required to
permanently tag and trace all sheep and goats that are born and sold in
Canada, similar to a system in place for cattle. Quebec's sheep industry
will take the measures a step further, forcing its 1300 producers to tag
and trace all 400 000 Quebec sheep in 2004.
- Scrapie is a fatal disease of the central nervous system
in sheep and goats. The disease is from the same family as mad cow disease
(Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE), chronic wasting disease (CWD)
in elk and deer, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans.
- While scrapie is not thought to pose a direct threat
to humans, scientists believe infected sheep carcasses fed to cattle may
have started the BSE epidemic in Britain. At least 130 people worldwide
have subsequently died from [variant] Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in cases
that are believed to be linked to infected cattle.
- The practice of feeding sheep remains to cattle was banned
in Canada in 1997.
- Scrapie is transmitted through amniotic fluid, so infected
ewes easily pass the illness to their lambs.
- ProMED-mail email@example.com
- [Other countries seem to be concentrating their scrapie
eradication efforts through selective breeding. This was proposed in Canada
in 1998. However, it seems slaughter is the official method of eradication
- Scrapie is a TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy)
of sheep (ovine), just as BSE (mad cow disease) is a TSE of cattle (bovine).
Scrapie has been recognized for 200 years and has not been shown to cause
human illness. It is an OIE List B disease, for which reporting is required
only annually. - Mod.TG]
- [To borrow information provided in a comment from Mod.MHJ
in an earlier posting on scrapie in Quebec in 1998 (Scrapie, eradication
program - Canada (Quebec) 19980814.1614):
- 1996: 7 cases of scrapie diagnosed -- 4 in Quebec and
3 in Ontario, from 6 sheep flocks. Three flocks were depopulated. A total
of 57 laboratory submissions were made in 1996. No scrapie was diagnosed
- 1997: 47 cases of scrapie diagnosed -- 38 in Quebec (14
flocks) and 9 in Ontario (2 flocks). Ten flocks were depopulated. No scrapie
was diagnosed in goats.
- While it may be infrequent this disease can have significant
constraints on interprovincial and international trade in live sheep, and
negatively affect buyers' confidence. - Mod.MPP]
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
Diseases" message board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=emergingdiseases
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health