Modelling the spread of scrapie in a sheep flock: Evidence for increased transmission during lambing seasons

S. Touzeau, M. E. Chase-Topping, L. Matthews, D. Lajous, F. Eychenne, J. D. Foster, G. Simm, J. M. Elsen, M. E.J. Woolhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Presence of scrapie infectivity in the placenta suggests the possibility of increased transmission of scrapie during the lambing season. This hypothesis was explored here using a mathematical model of scrapie transmission dynamics which has previously been successfully used to study several scrapie outbreaks in Scottish sheep flocks. It was applied here to the Langlade experimental sheep flock (INRA Toulouse, France), in which a natural scrapie epidemic started in 1993. Extensive data were available, including pedigree, scrapie histopathological diagnoses and PrP genotypes. Detailed simulations of the scrapie outbreak reveal that the observed patterns of seasonality in incidence can not be accounted for by seasonality in demography alone and provide strong support for the hypothesis of increased transmission during lambing. Observations from several other scrapie outbreaks also showing seasonal incidence patterns support these conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-751
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Virology
Volume151
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

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