Essay about The Possible Mechanisms of Scrapie Contraction

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The Possible Mechanisms of Scrapie Contraction Scrapie was first discovered in Great Britain in the late 1900’s. The first case of scrapie in the United States was found in Michigan in 1947 when the flock owner had imported sheep of British origin several years prior. Since then scientists have researched to find the cause of the scrapie agent that are classified as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. At the present, scientists have presented three main theories that explain why the scrapie agent holds a dangerous threat against its host and how it elicits its symptoms. Scientists are finding genetic alternatives to prevent and dampen the spread of scrapie within sheep and goat flocks. They use methods such as tatoing and genetic…show more content…
Because of the mysterious nature of the disease, the origin of scrapie and the damage it causes the body can only be theorized. The three main theories of scrapie and its structure’s effect on the symptoms it causes sheep and goats all present potential information about the disease and its cure (Scrapie Fact Sheet. August 2001: http://www.animalagriculture.org/scrapie/AboutScrapie/FactSheet.htm) The uncertainty of the origin and cause of scrapie is due to the insufficient research to find a solution to the epidemic because it is still considered a relatively new disease and not an immediate threat to humans. There have been three main theories of the cause of scrapie and its resistant nature to all previous experimental cures. The first theory is that the agent is a virus with unusual characteristics. The second theory is that the agent is a prion, which is an exclusively host-coded protein that is modified to a protease-resistant form after infection. The last theory is that the agent is a virino, a small nucleic acid coated with a host-derived protective protein that allows it to resist scientists’ futile attempts at destroying it (Scrapie Fact Sheet. August 2001: http://www.animalagriculture.org/scrapie/AboutScrapie/FactSheet.htm). The first theory of the scrapie agent being an unusual virus presents a serious problem to scientists because viruses do not respond to antibiotics and other chemicals of that nature. Scientists would have to find an

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