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Scrapie is endemic in the sheep flocks of many countries, but good epidemiological information on this disease is scarce. Data on the initial stages of an epidemic are even more rare. We describe the ongoing epidemic of scrapie in Cyprus that has been tracked since it began in the mid-1980s. The early stages of the spread of scrapie from farm to farm, between 1985 and 2000, is analysed with a simple mathematical model. The flock-to-flock basic reproductive number (R0) for the spread of scrapie was estimated at between 1.4 and 1.8. The impact of interventions on the control of the epidemic are discussed from an epidemiological and economic point of view. Early identification of scrapie cases on farms can have a large impact on the number of farms affected. The long period before detection of disease in a flock means that policies based on whole-flock slaughter can be inefficient in preventing spread. Under a range of scenarios, a concentration of resources on early detection and quarantine may be more effective in terms of both the costs and control of the epidemic.

Original publication




Journal article


Epidemiol Infect

Publication Date





751 - 760


Animals, Cyprus, Disease Outbreaks, Goats, Incidence, Models, Statistical, Scrapie, Sheep