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’.
Lindsay Wright | alfa
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding