Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and blood transfusion: updated results of the UK Transfusion Medicine Epidemiology Review Study

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Background and Objectives

This paper reports the results to 31 May 2015 of an ongoing UK study to look for additional cases of variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) transmission by blood transfusion, and to seek evidence whether other subtypes of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) may be transmissible via blood components.

Materials and Methods

All vCJD cases of appropriate age and any sporadic CJD (sCJD) or familial CJD (fCJD) cases with a history of blood donation or transfusion are notified to the UKBS. Donation records are sought and the usage of all donations is determined by look back. Death certificates are obtained for all donors to patients with CJD and recipients of transfused components from patients with CJD who are deceased.


The study identified 29 sCJD blood donors, of 370 reported, with transfusion to 211 recipients. Five of these recipients were reported to have died with or of dementia, but were not believed to be cases of CJD. The vCJD arm found 18 vCJD blood donors who had donated blood which was issued for clinical usage, of 24 traced donors from 177 UK vCJD cases. To date, 3 cases of vCJD have occurred in 67 recipients identified in this recipient group, and one recipient had post-mortem confirmation of abnormal prion protein deposition in the spleen (all previously reported).


The results of the ongoing TMER study show no new cases of transfusion-associated vCJD since 2007 and no evidence of transfusion transmission of sCJD.

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