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Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) are a group of diseases occurring in human and animals.

First published:
20 November 2018
Last updated:

These diseases cause degeneration of brain tissue giving it a sponge-like appearance. 

They are fatal diseases that can affect various species including:

  • humans
  • cattle
  • sheep
  • goats
  • deer 
  • camelids

The diseases include:

  • Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle
  • Scrapie in sheep and goats
  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans

All TSEs are notifiable diseases.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs depend on the type of disease and species affected but generally include:          

  • behavioural change
  • hypersensitivity to touch, sound and light
  • loss of coordination, falling, tremor
  • weight loss

Transmission, prevention and treatment

Transmission and prevention will depend on the type of disease and species affected. Currently, there is no treatment for TSEs.

If you suspect that an animal is infected:

  • they should be quarantined, culled and tested
  • you should notify  your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately on 0300 303 8268