Authors: AYDIN GÜREL, AHMET GÜLÇUBUK, NURİ TURAN, CHRISTOPHER RICHARD HELPS, HÜSEYİN YILMAZ
Abstract: Scrapie is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting small ruminants that causes economic losses in many countries. It is categorized together with other fatal neurodegenerative diseases as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. The aim of this study was to investigate clinical cases and the cause of death in a flock of sheep from Northern Cyprus (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) suspected of having scrapie. Brains from 4 sheep showing clinical signs of classical scrapie, out of a flock of 200 animals, were analyzed by histopathological examination and infective prion enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The 4 affected sheep were 2-3 years of age and initially showed signs of salivation. Further clinical signs included hyperirritability, excitability, grinding of teeth, scratching, head tremor, ataxia, weakness of the hind limbs, and paresis. Infective prion protein was detected by ELISA in all 4 sheep brains, and many well-defined vacuoles of different sizes were seen in the neuropil of the gray matter from the medulla oblongata, obex, caudal cerebral pedinculi, and the proximal part of medulla spinalis. After the diagnosis of scrapie, all of the animals in the flock were euthanized and buried to eradicate the disease according to EU rules. This study describes classical scrapie in sheep for the first time in Northern Cyprus.
Keywords: Scrapie, sheep, brain, ELISA, Northern Cyprus
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