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See reports Aug 17 2005 from Guardian ( Incident at government test farm fuels new food fear ) and New Scientist Sheep can pass BSE to their lambs
Such reporting is misleading in the extreme. BSE has NOT been shown to occur naturally in sheep. We asked Mark Purdey for his comment.

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The 'game' that BSE runs rife in the UK sheep flock has been going on for years now. The news media seem determined to find good reason that the BSE strain has 'infected' the UK sheep flock - whenever a transmission trial is carried out and published, there is yet another media attempt to launch this scare-story into the public domain. This has been flogged to death now , without ever producing an iota of evidence. The media are trying to get blood out of the sinking stone.

Everyone knows that you can transmit BSE and other TSEs into as many animals as you want with almost 100 % success - but only in the experimental context where high doses of BSE brain homogenate have been used as the inoculum (the rogue metal microcrystals are the transmissible agents ).

But it is extremely unscientific to jump to the conclusion that this is happening in the natural environment, particularly when no sheep have been diagnosed with clinical BSE to date, despite the rigorous post mortem TSE surveillance that has been in place in the UK.

Best,

Mark