Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human Version Of 'Mad Cow' Disease Might Be Spread Via The Reuse Of Surgical Instruments, Study Suggests

Date:
August 21, 2006
Source:
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Summary:
A study published today in the online edition of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface has been exploring the likelihood that vCJD might be spread via the reuse of surgical instruments, and calls for more data in order to allay fears over the possible transmission of vCJD.

A study published in the online edition of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface has been exploring the likelihood that variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease might be spread via the reuse of surgical instruments, and calls for more data in order to allay fears over the possible transmission of vCJD.

[Editor's Note: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) has been linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as 'mad cow' disease -- a progressive neurological disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unconventional transmissible agent. Strong evidence indicates that BSE has been transmitted to humans primarily in the United Kingdom, causing a variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (See: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/vcjd/qa.htm.)]

The number of vCJD cases continues to decline, and it is believed that most cases to date are the result of consumption of BSE-infected beef. There were 161 recorded cases by the end of 2005, and the annual incidence has been steadily decreasing since 2000, with estimates for the total scale of the epidemic through this route now lie in the low hundreds.

However, concern has been raised that transmission could, in theory, occur directly from one person to another via routes such as blood transfusions and surgical operations, despite instruments being decontaminated routinely before being used. Scientists based at both the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh decided to explore this possibility.

The results, published online today by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, show that key factors determining the scale of any epidemic are the number of times a single instrument is re-used, combined with how infectious contaminated instruments are and how effective the cleaning is.

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.

They comment: 'Given the frequency of high- and medium-risk surgical procedures undertaken in the UK, a range of plausible scenarios suggest that surgical procedures could provide a potential route for a self-sustaining epidemic of vCJD. A first step to reducing the current uncertainty in the potential for self-sustaining transmission via surgery would be to survey the frequency with which different instruments are used, particularly those used on high-infectivity procedures. Also, tracking of surgical instruments should be improved, so that, at the very least, instruments are not re-used once the infection status of a patient is known'.

Reference: Factors determining the potential for onward transmission of vCJD via surgical instruments (doi:10.1098/rsif.2006.0142) by Tini Garske1, Hester JT Ward2, Paul Clarke1, Robert G Will2, Azra Ghani1.

1Department of Epidemiology and Population Heal th, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

2National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

According to the World Health Organization, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a rare and fatal human neurodegenerative condition. As with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vCJD is classified as a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) because of characteristic spongy degeneration of the brain and its ability to be transmitted. vCJD is a new disease that was first described in March 1996.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Human Version Of 'Mad Cow' Disease Might Be Spread Via The Reuse Of Surgical Instruments, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060820195413.htm>.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (2006, August 21). Human Version Of 'Mad Cow' Disease Might Be Spread Via The Reuse Of Surgical Instruments, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060820195413.htm
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Human Version Of 'Mad Cow' Disease Might Be Spread Via The Reuse Of Surgical Instruments, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060820195413.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins