Scientific Opinion on sheep and goat pox


Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2014;12(11):3885 [122 pp.].
Panel Members
Edith Authie, Charlotte Berg, Anette Bøtner, Howard Browman, Aline De Koeijer, Klaus Depner, Mariano Domingo, Christian Ducrot, Sandra Edwards, Christine Fourichon, Frank Koenen, Simon More, Mohan Raj, Liisa Sihvonen, Hans Spoolder, Jan Arend Stegeman, Hans-Hermann Thulke, Ivar Vågsholm, Antonio Velarde, Preben Willeberg and Stéphan Zientara.

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on sheep and goat pox: Tsviatko Alexandrov, Aline De Koeijer, Dimitrios Dilaveris, Mariano Domingo, Simon Gubbins, Arjan Stegeman, Eeva Tuppurainen for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and EFSA staff: Alessandro Broglia, Josè Cortinhas, Anna Zuliani, Olaf Mosbach-Schulz, Andrey Gogin, Justyna Jaskiewicz, Matthew Watts and Andrea Gervelmeyer for the support provided to this scientific opinion.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
22 October 2014
Published in the EFSA Journal
13 November 2014
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

Sheep pox (SPP) and goat pox (GTP) are viral diseases of sheep and goats characterised by severe losses, especially in naive animals. SPP and GTP are endemic in many African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries, with recurrent epidemics in Greece and Bulgaria, as in 2013–2014. The main mode of SPP/GTP transmission is direct contact between animals, but, since the virus can survive in the environment, indirect transmission may also occur through fomites such as human movement, vehicles, wildlife and trade of hides when insufficiently treated. According to a model developed to evaluate the spread of SPP, the probability of spread of the infection in south-eastern Europe is <1 %, while, if introduced in the Iberian Peninsula, the probability that SPP would spread is more than 50 %. The long-term survival of the SPP virus in the environment enhances the likelihood of SPP endemicity; however, this can be reduced by extensive cleaning and disinfection, and with a waiting period before re-stocking culled herds. Early detection and notification, prompt movement restriction of animals, an extension of duration and size of the protection zone and culling affected herds, based on clinical signs, are effective and time-saving control measures recommended by the AHAW Panel. Only live attenuated vaccines are available for SPP/GTP, which are not licensed within the EU and without principle for differentiating infected from vaccinated animals. The AHAW Panel recommends further investigation of potential SPP/GTP transmission through arthropods and wildlife, the survival of SPP/GTP viruses in grazing sites and in animal feed and hides and the development of inactivated vaccines. Sentinel animals could be used prior to re-stocking culled herds. Awareness-raising campaigns for farmers and veterinary staff to promote recognition of the disease should be considered. The cooperation of EU with neighbouring countries should be encouraged to prevent transboundary disease spread.

Sheep pox, goat pox, spread, prevention, impact, culling, vaccine
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