Sheep producers told to remain vigilant against sheep scab

Scottish sheep farmers are being advised by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland to report any suspicious signs of sheep scab among their animals. 

The news comes after newly released Scottish government figures and maps showed that there have been 565 recorded cases of the disease in Scotland since 2010.

Considered to be endemic in Great Britain, the contagious parasitic disease has the potential to limit sheep production and creates a serious welfare problem.

“According to the Scottish government, there have been 565 notifications since 2010. Although in the last couple of years notifications have plateaued around the low eighties, annually they remain fairly widespread with identifiable hotspots,” said Penny Johnston, animal health and welfare policy manager with NFU Scotland.

“Although these reports could represent some decline in the scale of the problem, it is likely they only represent the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ongoing problem.”

The order 2010 that was introduced in December 2007 means producers who see any suspicious signs of the disease must report it, instead of waiting for official confirmation. This regulation places reported flocks under restrictions until there is evidence that they have been successfully culled or cured.

“Keepers are urged to remain vigilant to the disease and to continue to report where there is suspicion of scab,” added Johnston. “It is only by being open about the disease, facing up to its existence and treating problems that we will ever make progress towards eradication of this widespread problem for the industry.”

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