Between 1997 and March 2004, the nervous form, or visna, of maedi-visna infection was diagnosed in 71 of 1631 sheep (4·35 per cent) examined in the Castilla y León region of Spain, of which 634 had shown nervous signs. The presence of the virus was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and in some cases by PCR on frozen-thawed or paraffin-embedded tissue samples. The main clinical signs were hindleg ataxia and paresis, but blindness or nystagmus were also observed. Thirty-three of the affected sheep (46·5 per cent) were two years old or younger. The affected sheep showed variable degrees of a non-suppurative meningoencephalitis, and immunohistochemistry identified positive cells in all cases, with no relation to the intensity of the inflammatory lesion.