The presence of caprine arthritis and encephalitis (CAE) in Spain has never been officially acknowledged but it is suspected. Goats have been imported from other European countries with a high prevalence of the disease, mainly France, and they might have introduced the disease into the indigenous goat population. A serological survey of caprine arthritis and encephalitis virus antibodies was carried out in 22 volunteer dairy Murciano-Granadina goat herds; 2513 lactating goats were tested with an agar gel immunodiffusion test, and 12.1 per cent were found to be positive. Five of the herds were free of infection, six had a low prevalence of the disease, five had a medium prevalence and six had a high prevalence. Five seropositive goats with clinical signs of CAE were studied. Macroscopic and microscopic lesions similar to those described for CAE were detected in all five goats and a cytopathic effect typical of CAE virus was observed in primary explant cultures from four of them.