With the new year upon us, and 2009 quickly moving ahead, it is a good time to take a look back at the year that was. In terms of Scrapie Canada, below is an overview of 2008.
In 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed six cases of scrapie across Canada. Two of these cases were in Ontario; three in Quebec; and one in the Atlantic provinces. This number is up from 2007 when there were two cases of scrapie confirmed in Canada. All of the 2008 cases were confirmed to be classical scrapie, whereas one of the 2007 cases was non-classical scrapie. To date in 2009, there have been zero confirmed cases of scrapie in Canada. The CFIA posts regular scrapie updates on its website at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/disemala/scrtre/surve.shtml
Slotted to end on March 31, 2008, the National Genotyping Survey applied for, and was granted, a second extension, making the new program end date for producers December 16, 2008. Because producer uptake on the program was slow to begin for reasons like BSE, Scrapie Canada felt that there was still potential to increase the number of samples tested through the program. The extension allowed purebred producers another 8.5 months to take advantage of the government subsidy. Although the final test results are still coming in, the number of samples tested throughout the extension that has been calculated thus far is 1,557, with a final total to date being 8,869. Scrapie Canada is expecting this number to increase once all test results are submitted by the end of January 2009. All administrative work on the National Genotyping Survey is to be completed by March 31, 2009 and a final report will be released in mid-2009.
Participation on the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification (SFCP) is ongoing. In 2008, Scrapie Canada received 31 new applications from Canadian sheep and goat producers. Throughout the year there were 11 producers who quit the program, making the current number of enrolled producers 69 (sheep producers making up 54 of enrolled participants and goat producers 15). Interest in the program continued to increase in 2008. The number of phone calls and e-mails received by Scrapie Canada rose, especially coming from the goat industry. The majority of these calls are from producers wanting to import female sheep or goats from the US (in order to do so, Canadian producers must be enrolled on the program). The initial funding for the SCFP will be finished on March 31, 2009. This does not mean the program will be ending; however, there may be some changes in regards to administration and enrollment. Similar to the National Genotyping Survey, all administrative tasks for the program must be completed by March 31, 2009 and a final report will be released in mid-2009.
In October 2008, Scrapie Canada attended the Canadian Sheep Federation Annual General Meeting in Moncton, New Brunswick. This was a great opportunity to network and also pass on scrapie information to producers in Eastern Canada. Dr. Penny Greenwood of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) also attended the AGM, making a presentation on the signs and symptoms of scrapie, as well as the genetics behind the disease. Dr. Greenwood also gave this presentation at the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency’s AGM in Guelph, Ontario, also in October. Scrapie Canada was present at OSMA’s AGM as well, setting up an information booth for producers.
In November 2008, Scrapie Canada took on the role of administrator for the Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program (CWDHCP). This program was previously administered by Beef Improvement Ontario (BIO) and the main players involved are the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Ontario Deer and Elk Farmers’ Association. With this partnership, resources, information and labour cannot only be shared but also used in a more effective and efficient manner. Also, bringing the sheep, goat and cervid industries together strengthens efforts to eradicate Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE), including scrapie and CWD, from the Canadian agriculture industry. This will improve the overall health of sheep, goats and cervids in Canada and will allow Canada to meet international trade regulations.
Moving forward, Scrapie Canada is currently working on wrapping up both the National Genotyping Survey and the Scrapie Flock Certification Program by the end of March. Work is also being completed on obtaining long term funding for a TSE Eradication Program, which will include the sheep, goat and cervid industries.
For more information on scrapie or Scrapie Canada’s programs, please call 1-866-534-1302 or e-mail email@example.com