Sheep blood samples were stored at -80 oC, and shipped on dry ice to Micromun, Greifswald, Germany. Following microbial screening and heat treatment (70 oC for 15 min), samples were inoculated into 6 week old TgShpXI mice [23]. Each mouse was inoculated intracerebrally with 25 μl sample (undiluted or diluted 1:1 with sterile PBS) under general anaesthesia. Inoculated mice were housed in groups of up to ten in a Containment Level 3 (CL3) facility and monitored for development of clinical signs up to 700 days post-infection. Brains were collected at necropsy from all mice, including intercurrent deaths, and tested for the presence of PrPSc using an ELISA kit (BetaPrion BSE EIA Test Kit; AJ Roboscreen Gmbh, Leipzig, Germany), according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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