Date of this Version
Epidemiol. Infect. (2002), 128, 513±521. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268802007008
Data recording the course of scrapie outbreaks in 4 sheep flocks (2 in Cheviot sheep and 2 in Suffolks) are compared. For each outbreak the data on scrapie incidence and sheep demography and pedigrees cover periods of years or decades. A key finding is that the incidence of clinical cases peaks in sheep 2-3 years old, despite very different forces-of infection.This is consistent with age-specific susceptibility of sheep to scrapie, as has beenreported for cattle to bovine spongiform encephalopathy and for humans to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Scrapie incidence was higher in ewes than rams and at certain times of years, though these effects were not consistent between flocks. There was no evidence for high levels of vertical transmission.