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TSE surveillance statistics

Surveillance for TSEs in the United Kingdom is undertaken in TSE susceptible animals. EU Member States carry out TSE surveillance in accordance with EU law. The primary aim is to monitor trends in disease incidence and prevalence to evaluate the effectiveness of TSE controls.

Surveillance is not in itself protective, but underpins other control measures that either exclude affected animals from the food chain, or remove potentially high risk tissues from the food chain. Surveillance data is important in determining the TSE status of each country.

There are two categories of surveillance:

Passive surveillance

  • Passive surveillance occurs when an animal with clinical signs suspicious of a TSE is reported to the local AHVLA Office.
  • As BSE and Scrapie are notifiable diseases it is an offence not to report a suspect case. See the Defra website for further details.
  • Such cases are then slaughtered and the farmer compensated, and subsequently examination of the brain determines whether or not the suspect was affected by BSE or scrapie.
  • The AHVLA has been recording and analysing GB data from these reports in cattle since the start of the BSE epidemic in 1986, and for scrapie in sheep and goats since it became notifiable in 1993.

Active surveillance

The EU requires all Member States to carry out active surveillance for TSEs.

  • Cattle have been tested since July 2001.
  • Sheep and goats have been tested since January 2002.
  • A survey in farmed and wild deer started in 2007.

Compulsory Scrapie Flocks Scheme (CSFS)

Since 2004, disease control measures for scrapie in sheep and goats have required flocks and goat herds to join the Compulsory Scrapie Flocks Scheme when a case of scrapie is confirmed. Subsequent cases of scrapie in these flocks and herds are reported separately.

AHVLA provides summary statistics on the number of submissions tested and cases found through the CSFS testing routes (Initial Cull, Annual Cull and Fallen Stock) in Great Britain.

AHVLA provides summary statistics for active surveillance including CSFS:

  • in Great Britain
  • in Northern Ireland

Species Group statistics

AHVLA provides summary statistics on the number of cases found through active and passive surveillance in Great Britain by species:

Page last modified: 2 January 2013