Thursday, August 17, 2006

vCJD Transmission Study

A recent study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface suggests that vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) might be spread by improperly sterilized surgical instruments. This has been suspected for a while, but this study shows that there's a correlation between the number of times a particular instrument is being used, the cleaning method, the type of instrument (some are more easily "infected"), and the scale of a local vCJD outbreak. Infection Control Today (which has the best website name ever) has more:
The authors begin by presenting data on the surgical procedures undertaken on vCJD patients prior to the onset of clinical symptoms which support the hypothesis that cases via this route are possible. They then apply a mathematical framework to assess the potential for self-sustaining epidemics via surgical procedures.

They conclude that further research is needed into how surgical instruments are used so as to reduce uncertainty and assess the potential risk of this transmission route.


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