Surveillance for TSEs is carried out in the United Kingdom in animal susceptible to the disease. This includes cattle, sheep and goats. EU Member States carry out TSE surveillance in line with EU law. The main aim is to monitor trends in disease incidence and prevalence to evaluate the effectiveness of TSE disease controls.
Surveillance is not in itself protection against disease, but supports other control measures that either exclude affected animals or remove potentially high risk tissues from the food chain.
The surveillance data also determines the TSE status of each country.
There are two categories of surveillance:
This is when an animal with clinical signs suspicious of BSE or scrapie is reported to an APHA Office to be investigated. Such cases are slaughtered and the examination of the brain determines whether the animal was affected by BSE or scrapie.
APHA has been recording and analysing data from reported cases in cattle since the start of the BSE epidemic in 1986, and for scrapie in sheep and goats since this disease became notifiable in 1993.
The EU requires all Member States to carry out active surveillance for TSEs:
cattle have been tested since July 2001
sheep and goats have been tested since January 2002
a survey in farmed and wild deer started in 2007
APHA also provides summary statistics on the number of submissions tested and cases confirmed through the Compulsory Scrapie Flocks Scheme.