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Strategies to reduce transfusion acquired vCJD

Authors


J. P. Wallis, Department of Haematology, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN, UK.
Tel.: 01912138482; fax: 01912137436;
e-mail: Jonathan.Wallis@nuth.nhs.uk

Abstract

Variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) can be transmitted by transfusion. The risk depends on the number of infected donors in the community. An estimate of these numbers in a less genetically susceptible population, based on the epidemic seen so far, suggests a maximum of 300 more cases. From this, it is possible to predict a maximum of one transfusion acquired case in 3 years from plasma transfusion. Importation of plasma from outside the UK has been advocated to prevent these cases and would cost around £30 million per year. An alternative measure is to use the observed susceptibility and exposure to dietary vCJD by age, and to target low risk donors for the production of components such as fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and platelets. This will reduce the possible cases of plasma transfusion-acquired vCJD at little or no extra cost to the health service.

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