Scrapie

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Scrapie does not affect humans.   It is among a number of diseases classified as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), and is caused by a prion.  TSE’s occur in other species as well.  In cattle prions are responsible for Mad Cow disease, and in deer Chronic Wasting Disease.  Symptoms of Scrapie appear two to five years after exposure.  Scrapie is thought to be spread from the ewe / doe to her offspring and other herd mates through contact with her placenta or placental fluids.

Symptoms are due to central nervous system damage and can include the following;  behavioral changes, tremor especially of the head and neck, grinding teeth, intense rubbing / chewing of the body and limbs leading to hair loss, abrasions, incoordination and gait abnormalities.  Death occurs one to six months after symptoms appear.  These symptoms are also seen with other diseases so it is important to involve your veterinarian in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Although Hawaii has never had a case of Scrapie, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is doing its part to eliminate Scrapie from the United States in several ways.  Hawaii is a “consistent state” in the USDA’s national Scrapie eradication program.  This means that Hawaii follows national guidelines for monitoring, identifying, and sampling animals to help in eliminating the disease from the United States.

Educational materials and programs are used to inform producers and veterinarians about Scrapie and how they can help with eradication efforts.  Producers are encouraged to participate in the Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP) by contacting the HDOA.  Routine slaughter surveillance and on-farm testing of at risk sheep and goats is ongoing.  Live animal and genetic testing is available to producers through accredited veterinarians and the HDOA.  Free official Scrapie I.D. tags and other supplies are provided to producers to ensure they are compliant with the State Scrapie quarantine order (QO 109-A).  Compliance with the quarantine order is monitored and enforced.  Hawaii has a quarantine order in place affecting most sheep and some goats throughout the State.  The quarantine order requires that before sheep and goats are allowed to move off their premises, or to change ownership, official identification and a permit must first be obtained from the HDOA.

Contact one of the following officials at the HDOA to obtain permits, tags, enrollment forms, testing animals or to submit tissues:

Raquel Wong, DVM
Scrapie Disease Coordinator
Animal Disease Control Branch
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
99-941 Halawa Valley Street, #104
Aiea, HI 96701
Phone: 808.483.7131
E-mail:  Raquel.L.Wong@hawaii.gov

Laura Ayers
Livestock Inspector
Animal Disease Control Branch
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
99-941 Halawa Valley Street,
Aiea, HI 96701
Phone:  808.483.7113
E-mail:  Laura.A.Ayers@hawaii.gov

Kim Kozuma, DVM
Deputy State Veterinarian
Animal Disease Control Branch
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
75 Aupuni Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: 808.933.3307, VM: 808.974.6503
E-mail: Kim.N.Kozuma@hawaii.gov

 

To learn more about Scrapie and eradication efforts, please visit the following websites:

http://scrapietag.aphis.usda.gov/reports/sisstate.php

http://www.eradicatescrapie.org/

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/scrapie/

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_dis_spec/goats/