Scarification of the skin is a possible route of entry for scrapie infectivity in sheep, and for Creutz-feldt-Jakob disease agent in humans within the context of occupational exposure to infected brain in the autopsy room or laboratory. The effectiveness of skin scarification routes as portals of entry for infectivity had not previously been tested experimentally but this study has shown that these are efficient routes for establishing infection in mice using the 139A and ME7 strains of scrapie agent. Scarification had much the same efficiency as inoculation by the intraperitoneal, intravenous or perivenous routes but was not effective in immunocompromised (SCID) mice. It was concluded that replication of infectivity within the lymphoreticular system, which is precluded in SCID mice, is a necessary prerequisite for the development of infection in the central nervous system following inoculation via scarification.


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