Bovine spongiform encephalopathy probably results from the use of commercial diets containing scrapie-contaminated ingredients. Of all the chemical and physical decontamination procedures which are effective against conventional viruses, only high temperature autoclaving, high concentrations of sodium hypochlorite, and possibly molar sodium hydroxide, are useful against the group of unconventional transmissible agents which includes scrapie. The implications of this problem for the rendering industry and farm practice are discussed.
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