Mad Cow Disease – BSE – TSE – Variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease;
And what does it has to do with blood donations?
Variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD) is classified as a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) and first described in 1996.
Patients and laboratory animal studies have shown that vCJD can be transmitted through transfusion. Therefore some countries, including Thailand, prohibit donations of blood from people who have resided in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for several months (more than 6 month in Thailand).
213 cases of vCJD were reported worldwide in May 2009. Three of them were infected via blood transfusion.
In contrast to the formerly known three other forms of Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (CJD) the added fourth variety vCJD is affecting younger patients (average age 29 years opposed to 65 years) and has a median of 14 month opposed to 4.5 month. Scientists believe vCJD is strongly linked to the consumption of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), the TSE in cattle, contaminated meat.
Unfortunately, until now, there are no tests in place to screen for vCJD, therefore the diagnostics is based on clinical symptoms, supported by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cerebrospinal fluid tests and tonsillar biopsies. The WHO stated 2002 Currently the diagnosis of vCJD can only be confirmed following pathological examination of the brain.