Scrapie Detected Again In Northwest Iceland Sheep - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Scrapie Detected Again In Northwest Iceland Sheep

Published January 24, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Axel Sig

Last detected in the region only a few months ago, the degenerative nerve disease appears to have returned to northwest Iceland after a years-long hiatus.

The Icelandic Food And Veterinary Authority (MAST) reports that scrapie has been detected on the farm Álftagerður, near Varmahlíð in the northwest Iceland region of Skagafjörður. The matter was brought to light by the owner of the farm, who reported to MAST that two of his 370 sheep showed signs of the disease. They were subsequently put down and destroyed.

The last known case of scrapie was also found in the Varmhlíð area, last September, but cause for alarm would be pre-mature.

Scrapie, a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats, is very rare in Iceland. Considering that the country has more sheep than people, the number of cases has not exceeded 10 since 1995. The highest levels were in 1988, when 34 cases were reported, and there were zero cases from 2011 through 2014.

MAST is working diligently on the case to find the root cause, boost education, and stop the miniature outbreak in its tracks.

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