Classic scrapie case confirmed in Alberta

The Alberta Lamb Producers (ALP) says that a positive, classical scrapie result was confirmed by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) laboratory on a sheep from a farm in Alberta on June 21.

The sheep was tested due to clinical signs consistent with scrapie, the producer group says, and because the sheep lived on multiple premises, a second flock in Alberta has been quarantined. Disease control procedures required for classical scrapie have been implemented for both flocks, according to ALP.

Scrapie is a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats, with clinical signs appearing only in adults. Like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk, scrapie is  a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), or prion disease.

The disease was first detected in Canada in 1938, and became reportable in 1945. In 2005, the CFIA launched a national scrapie surveillance program.

There is no treatment or vaccine for scrapie.

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