TSE disease surveillance statistics

Statistics and reports on the disease surveillance of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in Great Britain.

Surveillance for TSEs is carried out in the United Kingdom in animal susceptible to the disease. This includes cattle, sheep and goats. 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.

There are two categories of surveillance:

Passive 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.

Active surveillance

The UK carries out active surveillance for TSEs. The UK has:

  • tested cattle since July 2001
  • tested sheep and goats since January 2002
  • conducted a survey in 2007 and 2008 of farmed and wild deer

APHA also provides summary statistics on the number of submissions tested and cases confirmed through the Compulsory Scrapie Flocks Scheme.

Active surveillance


APHA provides summary statistics on the number of cases found through active and passive surveillance in Great Britain by species.

Scrapie reports

Updates to this page

Published 22 September 2014
Last updated 1 October 2014 + show all updates
  1. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  2. First published.