Open Access Case report

Atypical/Nor98 scrapie in the Basque Country: a case report of eight outbreaks

Ana B Rodríguez-Martínez1, Joseba M Garrido1, Sonia Maza1, Leyre Benedicto1, Mariví Geijo1, Nieves Gómez1, Esmeralda Minguijón1, Sylvie L Benestad2 and Ramón A Juste1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Animal Health. Neiker-Tecnalia, 48160 Derio. Bizkaia. Spain

2 National Veterinary Institute, Department of Pathology, Postboks 750 Sentrum. 0106 Oslo. Norway

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BMC Veterinary Research 2010, 6:17  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-17

Published: 26 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Since 2002, an active surveillance program for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in small ruminants in European Union countries allowed identification of a considerable number of atypical cases with similarities to the previously identified atypical scrapie cases termed Nor98.

Case presentation

Here we report molecular and neuropathological features of eight atypical/Nor98 scrapie cases detected between 2002 and 2009. Significant features of the affected sheep included: their relatively high ages (mean age 7.9 years, range between 4.3 and 12.8), their breed (all Latxa) and their PRNP genotypes (AFRQ/ALRQ, ALRR/ALRQ, AFRQ/AFRQ, AFRQ/AHQ, ALRQ/ALRH, ALRQ/ALRQ). All the sheep were confirmed as atypical scrapie by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. Two cases presented more PrP immunolabelling in cerebral cortex than in cerebellum.

Conclusions

This work indicates that atypical scrapie constitutes the most common small ruminant transmissible spongiform encephalopathy form in Latxa sheep in the Spanish Basque Country. Moreover, a new genotype (ALRQ/ALRH) was found associated to atypical scrapie.