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Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

Goat BSE: proposal for improvement of goat TSE discriminative diagnosis and susceptibility based assessment of BSE infectivity in goat milk and meat

EC contribution
: € 3 849 994
: 48 months
Starting date
: December 1, 2006
: IP
: goats, TSE, prion, scrapie, BSE, early detection, genetics
Project Number
: FOOD-CT-2006-36353


Prion diseases are fatal transmissible neurodegenerative diseases that are currently incurable. Although the risk to humans is generally considered low, cases of Creutzfeldt- Jacob disease (CJD) in humans are a fact, and the recent discovery of two bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) cases in goats has shown that the species barrier is not watertight. The GoatBSE project aims at providing sound scientific information to allow the risk assessment of human exposure to BSE via goat milk, meat and products thereof.


In light of the known ability of the BSE agent to cross the animal/human species barrier, recent evidence establishing the presence of BSE in goat is especially alarming, as it represents a new potential risk of food-borne contamination to human consumers of goat milk and meat products.


The main objective of GoatBSE is to determine the tissue distribution of BSE after oral exposure of goats, and to do this while simultaneously generating indispensable data on genetic susceptibility in the most commonly used production breeds. The project has the following aims: (1) providing data for the evaluation of human risk associated with goat BSE passage in goat; (2) providing pathogenesis data and biological material from first and second passage BSE in goats; (3) evaluating the possibility of BSE selfmaintenance in goat herds through maternal or horizontal transmission; (4) validating and improving our ability to detect caprine BSE and discriminate it from scrapie in goats.

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