Fatal disease confirmedin sheep

A single case of atypical scrapie was confirmed in an Alberta sheep in January.

Dr. Bob Cooper, a veterinary program specialist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said the case was discovered as part of the national surveillance program to eradicate scrapie in Canada.

The surveillance program tests samples of sheep and goats for scrapie in an effort to understand where the disease is found in Canada and how to eliminate it.

Scrapie is a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. It is in the same family as BSE in cattle and chronic wasting disease in deer and elk.

It is a reportable disease in Canada.

Unlike classical scrapie, atypical scrapie doesn’t require that sheep farms be quarantined or the flock investigated.

Cooper said there would be some follow up to determine where the sheep lived its life, but there will be no large scale investigation or quarantine.

The atypical scrapie case was posted on the CFIA website’s monthly reportable disease update.

Canada has developed the national voluntary scrapie flock certification program in an attempt to eliminate scrapie from the national flock.

Alberta Lamb Producer chair Phil Kolodychuk was relieved the case was atypical scrapie and not classic scrapie.

“It’s a bad disease. We’d like to get rid of it in our country,” he said.

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