Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a novel human prion disease caused by infection with the agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
In this study, researchers from the United Kingdom assessed whether vCJD can be transmitted through blood transfusion.
The team examined all cases of probable vCJD reported to the UK blood services. Donation records were also examined.
|1 recipient developed symptoms of vCJD 6.5 years after receiving a transfusion.|
The team looked for evidence of any matches existed between recipients or donors and the database of cases of vCJD.
Blood recipients were also flagged at the UK Office of National Statistics to establish date and cause of death.
The team found that 48 individuals had received a labile blood component from 15 donors who later became vCJD cases.
They established that 1 of the recipients had developed symptoms of vCJD 6.5 years after receiving a transfusion of red cells. The blood had been donated by an individual 3.5 years before they developed symptoms of vCJD.
Dr Llewelyn's team concluded, "Our findings raise the possibility that this infection was transfusion transmitted".
"Infection in the recipient could have been due to past dietary exposure to the BSE agent".
"However, the age of the patient was well beyond that of most vCJD cases, and the chance of observing a case of vCJD in a recipient in the absence of transfusion transmitted infection is about 1 in 15,000 to 1 in 30,000".