Scientific Opinion on the scrapie situation in the EU after 10 years of monitoring and control in sheep and goats
To assess the effectiveness of the strategies implemented in the European Union (EU) to control Classical scrapie (CS), epidemiological data have been compared in the context of the efforts in terms of control measures applied over time. Official EU surveillance data and results from questionnaire surveys of EU Member States (MSs) have been used along with case studies. A spatio-temporal description of the occurrence of small ruminants TSEs in MSs in the period 2002-2012 is provided, with a particular focus on CS in sheep. Based on information collected from MSs, the potential effectiveness of breeding programmes for resistance to CS (BP-CS) in the dissemination of resistance into the general sheep population has been assessed for those countries for which the CS trend analysis has been performed. CS in sheep was reported in 17 MSs (average prevalence: 8.7 cases/10 000 tests), with heterogeneous trends and geographical distribution: among the 13 countries reporting a consistent number of cases, the trend analysis shows a statistically significant decreasing trend only for six of them. Variations in the implementation of genetic and non-genetic measures for the control of CS may explain the failure to improve the disease situation in the remaining seven MSs. At a national level, a reduction in CS seems to be linked to better-achieving BP-CSs. Control options applied to CS in sheep and goats indicate that a CS eradication policy that relies solely on the detection of infected flocks by post-mortem testing and subsequent depopulation would be unlikely to succeed. A minimum frequency of the ARR allele in a sheep population above which CS may be expected to fade-out could be estimated for each specific national sheep population. Recommendations for additional/alternative measures to control CS in sheep and goats are formulated.