An update on the assessment and management of the risk of transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by blood and plasma products


Prof. C. A. Ludlam, Department of Haematology, Royal Infirmary, Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, UK. E-mail:


There have been four highly probable instances of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) transmission by non-leucocyte depleted red cell concentrates and it is now clear that the infectious agent is transmissible by blood components. To date there in no reported evidence that the infectious agent has been transmitted by fractionated plasma products, e.g. factor VIII concentrate. This review outlines current and potential risk management strategies including donor deferral criteria, the potential for donor screening, blood component processing and prion reduction filters, plasma product manufacture and the difficulties in identification and notification of those considered ‘at risk of vCJD for public health purposes’.