Full circle

Link between BSE and scrapie

source: Andy Coghlan
New Scientist October 27 2001 p16

The idea that BSE in cattle in Britain could have originated from scrapie has again become fashionable. A government panel argues that dairy calves fed meat and bonemeal (MBM) could have become infected from a novel type of scrapie. Calves in mainland Europe and the US were not fed MBM, and did not develop BSE, and likewise, dairy cattle were more likely to develop BSE than beef cattle, and only dairy calves were fed MBM.

Critics argue that this would have meant several cases of BSE occurring at the same time across Britain, whereas it seem to have come from one source in southern England. However, not enough is known of different strains of scrapie to be sure whether a novel strain could cause BSE.