[Occurrence of scrapie in Switzerland: an anonymous cross-sectional study].


Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of sheep and goats, which leads to neurological signs and ends with the death of the infected animal. In Switzerland only a few cases were reported since 1982. In 1999, a questionnaire survey was conducted to increase information about neurological diseases in sheep and goat breeding farms. The aim was to estimate the frequency of neurological disorders including Scrapie and to increase the disease awareness of sheep and goat breeders. The main goal of the study was to increase the reporting of suspect cases of Scrapie and its differential diagnoses. Out of a database of all registered farms with at least five breeding sheep or breeding goats a random sample of 4711 was drawn to which anonymous questionnaires were sent. The return rate was 36%. In a parallel study, 150 voluntarily participants were interviewed using the same questionnaire. The results of both parts of the survey coincided. For the years 1997 and 1998, on average 1.0% of the breeding sheep and breeding goats showed neurological signs. 7.7% of the breeders indicated to have observed animals with neurological symptoms in their flock. At the population level, a total of 1954-2336 animals with neurological signs are observed in 691-929 flocks. The minority is reported to the veterinary authorities.


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