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see prionprion
, abnormal form of a protein found in mammals, believed to cause a group of diseases known as prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Well-known prion diseases are Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and kuru in humans, scrapie in sheep, bovine
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a slowly developing infectious disease of sheep that is associated with degenerative changes in the central nervous system and characterized by excitability, severe itching, paralysis, and emaciation. First reported in Great Britain in 1732, scrapie is recorded today in Europe, southern Africa, India, Australia, Canada, the USA, and many other areas.

The nature of the causative agent of scrapie has not been determined. A viral hypothesis has been formulated but not substantiated. Some believe the causative agent to be a protein, whereas others believe it to be a special type of polysaccharide. There also is a membrane hypothesis, which states that the biological activity of the causative agent of scrapie is the function of a modified cell membrane.

The causative agent of scrapie is extraordinarily resistant; it can withstand boiling for three hours, is resistant to chemical agents, and preserves well in desiccated pathological material and at low temperatures. Sheep 18 months of age and older are affected. The causative agent is transmitted when sick and healthy animals are housed together and when animals graze on infected pastures. Sheep of various breeds have different susceptibilities to scrapie. Although the disease has been recorded year-round, it occurs more frequently in winter and spring. Scrapie might be related to such human diseases as multiple sclerosis and parkinsonism. The incubation period lasts one to four years. At first, infected animals are characterized by unusual behavior, increased excitability, tremors, and an abnormal gait. Itching is also a characteristic early symptom. Subsequent symptoms include emaciation, incoordination, and paralysis. The animals die several weeks after the appearance of the first symptoms.

Scrapie is diagnosed according to clinical symptoms and histological examination. A treatment has not been developed. Control and preventive measures include the refusal of entry of sheep from an infected country and the slaughter of infected flocks. Some sheep breeders discontinue hereditary lines of sheep among which scrapie has been discovered.


Kukhto, A. F. “Pochesukha ovets: skreipi.” In Bolezni ovets. Moscow, 1963.
Andrewes, C. Virusy pozvonochnykh. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)
Andrewes, C. Estestvennaia istoriia virusov. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from English.)



(veterinary medicine)
A transmissible, usually fatal, virus disease of sheep, characterized by degeneration of the central nervous system.
References in periodicals archive ?
This new offering reinforces our focus on exceptional service, whereby we work with our customers to determine the most practical and cost-effective scrapie genotyping solution for their needs, whether it be conducted in our facility or in their own laboratory.
Scrapie genotyping is seen as a new tool to help eradicate this disease and was developed in the UK in the 1990s.
Delegates heard an update in the Welsh scrapie genotyping project, which is far more advanced in Wales than in other parts of the UK.
Genaissance's scrapie genotyping assays were developed in collaboration with scientists at the U.
The objectives of the WSS was to increase participation in the sire reference schemes, establish the Institute of Rural Studies as a centre of excellence to provide breeding services to the Welsh industry, encourage use of scrapie genotyping, provide technology transfer and training, and to under - take research, feasibility studies and surveys - all of this has been achieved .
Additionally, we experienced increased testing volumes in our scrapie genotyping service and successfully renewed our contract with the U.
Former WSS Cymru/New Zealand Scholars, Gareth Jones and John Davies, will be speaking about their experiences in New Zealand and Janet Roden, geneticist at the Institute of Rural Studies, will talk on Scrapie Genotyping.
government has renewed Orchid's scrapie genotyping contract for an additional two years.