Scrapie is an incurable and degenerative illness that targets the central nervous system of sheep and goats, leading to fatality. It falls under the category of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), a group of diseases. Infected flocks may suffer substantial losses in production.
Being the earliest identified TSE, scrapie primarily affects sheep and goats in natural settings. Once an animal is infected, it remains so for its entire life. The exact transmission mechanism of the classical scrapie agent is not fully comprehended, as apparently healthy sheep carrying the agent can still spread the disease. While young lambs and kids are commonly infected, adult sheep and goats can also contract the illness.
The National Scrapie Eradication Program is a comprehensive initiative aimed at eliminating scrapie, a fatal disease affecting sheep and goats, from the United States. This program was established to protect the health and well-being of the domestic sheep and goat populations, as well as to safeguard the interests of the livestock industry. The program focuses on surveillance, testing, and control measures to detect and eliminate infected animals, with the ultimate goal of eradicating scrapie from the country. Through strict regulations, education, and cooperation among industry stakeholders, the National Scrapie Eradication Program plays a vital role in reducing the prevalence of scrapie and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sheep and goat industries in the United States.