Elimination of small ruminant lentivirus infection from sheep flocks and goat herds aided by health schemes in Great Britain

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Over a period of 11 years, 33 sheep or goat holdings lost their maedi-visna or caprine arthritis-encephalitis accredited status (mean 2.8 per year [0.09 per cent] of the accredited holdings in Great Britain). Of these, 22 sheep flocks and two goat herds eradicated the infection and regained their accredited status. In addition, 10 sheep flocks and two goat herds managed to eradicate infection, having joined the scheme with infected animals. In flocks and herds with a high initial prevalence of infection, the adoption of an indirect ELISA, with greater sensitivity than the agar gel immunodiffusion test, improved success rates. A strategy was devised to interpret the ELISA results depending upon the prevalence of infection at the time. Eighteen of the 33 flocks/herds (54.5 per cent) that had introductions of infection also owned non-accredited stock.

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