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BMC Vet Res. 2009 Jan 8;5:1. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-5-1.

Within-holding prevalence of sheep classical scrapie in Great Britain.

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  • 1Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CERA), Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Surrey, UK.



Data from the Compulsory Scrapie Flocks Scheme (CSFS), part of the compulsory eradication measures for the control of scrapie in the EU, have been used to estimate the within-holding prevalence of classical scrapie in Great Britain (GB). Specifically data from one of the testing routes within the CSFS have been used; the initial cull (IC), whereby two options can be applied: the whole flock cull option by which the entire flock is depopulated, and the genotyping and cull of certain genotypes.


Between April 2005 and September 2007, 25,316 suitable samples, submitted from 411 flocks in 213 scrapie-affected holdings in Great Britain, were tested for scrapie. The predicted within-holding prevalence for the initial cull was 0.65% (95% CI: 0.55-0.75). For the whole cull option was 0.47% (95% CI: 0.32-0.68) and for the genotype and cull or mixed option (both options applied in different flocks of the same holding), the predicted within-holding prevalence was 0.7% (95% CI: 0.6-0.83). There were no significant differences in the within-flock prevalence between countries (England, Scotland and Wales) or between CSFS holdings by the surveillance stream that detected the index case. The number of CSFS flocks on a holding did not affect the overall within-holding prevalence of classical scrapie.


These estimates are important in the discussion of the epidemiological implications of the current EU testing programme of scrapie-affected flocks and to inform epidemiological and mathematical models. Furthermore, these estimates may provide baseline data to assist the design of future surveillance activities and control policies with the aim to increase their efficiency.

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