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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Mitigating the Risk of Transmission and Environmental Contamination of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

Location: Animal Diseases Research

Project Number: 5348-32000-030-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 18, 2011
End Date: Oct 17, 2016

Objective:
Objective 1: Determine whether goats are a transmission reservoir for ovine scrapie by developing and validating diagnostic methods for detecting goat scrapie. Determine the genetic predisposition and transmission route(s) of goat scrapie. Subobjective 1.1: Improve eradication efforts by developing improved methods for antemortem scrapie diagnosis. Subobjective 1.2: Determine if placenta and milk from goats are potential sources of scrapie to sheep. Objective 2: Develop methods to mitigate infectivity of soil-associated prions by screening soil microbes for potential candidates for bioremediation.

Approach:
Scrapie is a complex and rare disorder affecting outbred farm animals held under a wide variety of husbandry conditions and exposed to an agent for which the transmissible and pathogenic events remain largely unknown (125). The work described in the research plan is an extension of the previous highly productive studies by this research group, addressing the need for implementation of federal regulations based on the best available science, often in the face of relatively small sample numbers in the natural host. The work includes development of specific management and diagnostic tools and is presented as an integrated series of research objectives. This approach was selected over a hypothesis based approach. After consulting Glass and Hall (46), the group determined that the work presented in the following plan was best represented by goal statements rather than hypotheses because the work increases the density of data necessary for progress (103) and for support of current and proposed federal regulations. This project addresses only scrapie, the TSE of sheep and goats. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the TSE of North America cervids (deer and elk). No live animal work with CWD is included in this project plan since CWD is not endemic in Washington State, the disease appears to be highly communicable, the modes of transmission are unknown, and we do not have suitable biocontainment facilities to conduct CWD studies in large animals.

Last Modified: 4/22/2014
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