An anonymous, self-administered questionnaire has been used in two independent surveys to try to determine the prevalence of scrapie in the national sheep flock. The disease was recorded in 35 counties in England and Wales. About a third (26.5 and 37.3 percent) of respondents owning 100 or more sheep indicated that they had seen sheep with scrapie in their flocks. The incidences of clinical cases recorded in affected flocks in the two surveys were 0.5 and 1.1 cases/100 ewes/year. At present there is no control over the disposal of these animals. If as has been suggested, an increase in the prevalence of scrapie was a contributory factor in the emergence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, it would seem logical that measures should be introduced to monitor the prevalence and incidence of scrapie and to control the disposal of clinical cases.
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