The Alberta Scrapie Prevalence Study will test approximately 2,000 samples delivered by four selected abattoirs to the TSE laboratory in Edmonton over the course of approximately 2.5 years.
The study will determine the prevalence of scrapie in the sheep population (goats will be included in the near future) at slaughter in Alberta, in support of the National Scrapie Prevalence Study designed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
“Testing for scrapie in the sheep population at slaughter is very important to complement our surveillance programs,” says Dr. Hernan Ortegon, Animal Health Programs, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD). “It is expected that by diversifying scrapie surveillance, our sampling numbers in Alberta will significantly increase together with our knowledge about the prevalence of this disease. This, in turn, will help our control and eradication programs.”
Another surveillance program, this one focused on producers who are registered in the National Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program, has been relaunched in Alberta. This program, which has been active for a number of years, received new funding and a strong endorsement by the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF). Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and the CSF signed an agreement to test samples from certified sheep and goat flocks of the western Canadian provinces in the Edmonton- TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies) laboratory.
“These programs will assist in increasing credibility to scrapie surveillance by getting enough surveillance numbers as well as support international market access for our small ruminant industry,” says Ortegon.
Sheep and goat producers should contact the Animal Health Programs of ARD at 780-644-2148 for more information on this surveillance program and how samples should be collected and delivered.