- Scientists have claimed that a small number of sheep
in Britain might be infected with BSE.
- Research published in Science suggests for the first
time that up to 1,500 sheep may have been infected with the disease at
the height of the BSE epidemic in cattle in 1990. The scientific model,
however, suggests that just 20 sheep out of a national flock of about 36
million are likely to have the disease this year.
- The forecast is made by a team from Oxford University
and the Institute of Animal Health; the latter is at the centre of an inquiry
into bungled brains tests to establish if BSE exists in the national flock.
The Government discovered last month that for four years scientists had
been studying the brains of cattle instead of sheep. Two independent audits
have been ordered.
- Chris Bostock, director of the institute, was unavailable
to comment on his research with the Oxford team, led by Rowland Kao. But
the research states: "All indications are that current prevalence
- A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs, said that the research matched previous laboratory tests
that showed there was a "theoretical risk" of BSE in sheep.