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[mass noun] A disease of sheep involving the central nervous system, characterized by a lack of coordination causing affected animals to rub against trees and other objects for support, and thought to be caused by a virus-like agent such as a prion.
- ‘Sheep are susceptible to their own brain wasting disease called scrapie, but this disease has never been shown to be transmissible to humans.’
- ‘Healthy sheep inoculated with tissue from animals with scrapie took years to develop symptoms, far longer than for any other known infection.’
- ‘Since the early 1990s, scientists have become increasingly concerned that sheep diagnosed with scrapie may actually have BSE.’
- ‘Biologically, the symptoms of the relatively common disease of scrapie in sheep are very similar to those of BSE.’
- ‘Since 1997, almost 300 Quebec farmers have been ordered to destroy more than 12,000 sheep feared to be carrying the disease called scrapie.’
Early 20th century: from the verb scrape + -ie.
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