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Lancet. 2006 Dec 9;368(9552):2061-7.

Clinical presentation and pre-mortem diagnosis of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease associated with blood transfusion: a case report.

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  • 1National Prion Clinic, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Concerns have been raised that variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) might be transmissible by blood transfusion. Two cases of prion infection in a group of known recipients of transfusion from donors who subsequently developed vCJD were identified post-mortem and reported in 2004. Another patient from this at-risk group developed neurological signs and was referred to the National Prion Clinic.

METHODS:

The patient was admitted for investigation and details of blood transfusion history were obtained from the National Blood Service and Health Protection Agency; after diagnosis of vCJD, the patient was enrolled into the MRC PRION-1 trial. When the patient died, brain and tonsil tissue were obtained at autopsy and assessed for the presence of disease-related PrP by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.

FINDINGS:

A clinical diagnosis of probable vCJD was made; tonsil biopsy was not done. The patient received experimental therapy with quinacrine, but deteriorated and died after a clinical course typical of vCJD. Autopsy confirmed the diagnosis and showed prion infection of the tonsils.

INTERPRETATION:

This case of transfusion-associated vCJD infection, identified ante-mortem, is the third instance from a group of 23 known recipients who survived at least 5 years after receiving a transfusion from donors who subsequently developed vCJD. The risk to the remaining recipients of such transfusions is probably high, and these patients should be offered specialist follow-up and investigation. Tonsil biopsy will allow early and pre-symptomatic diagnosis in other iatrogenically exposed individuals at high risk, as in those with primary infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions.

Comment in

PMID:
17161728
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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