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The end of the BSE saga: do we still need surveillance for human prion diseases?


Budka, Herbert; Will, Robert G (2015). The end of the BSE saga: do we still need surveillance for human prion diseases? Swiss Medical Weekly, 145(w14212):online.

Abstract

The epidemics of classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) related to BSE-infected food are coming to an end. The decline in concern about these diseases may invite complacency and questions whether surveillance for human prion diseases is still necessary. This article reviews the main points of surveillance and why it is still needed: animal sources for human prion infection other than BSE cannot be excluded; the potentially increasing circulation of prions between humans by blood, blood products and medical procedures; the prevalence of vCJD prion carriers in the UK; and the scientific study of prion diseases as paradigm for other neurodegenerative diseases with “prion-like” spread of pathological proteins. We conclude that continuation of detailed surveillance of human prion disorders would be prudent in view of all these points that deserve clarification.

Abstract

The epidemics of classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) related to BSE-infected food are coming to an end. The decline in concern about these diseases may invite complacency and questions whether surveillance for human prion diseases is still necessary. This article reviews the main points of surveillance and why it is still needed: animal sources for human prion infection other than BSE cannot be excluded; the potentially increasing circulation of prions between humans by blood, blood products and medical procedures; the prevalence of vCJD prion carriers in the UK; and the scientific study of prion diseases as paradigm for other neurodegenerative diseases with “prion-like” spread of pathological proteins. We conclude that continuation of detailed surveillance of human prion disorders would be prudent in view of all these points that deserve clarification.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD); variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD); prion; prion diseases
Language:English
Date:12 November 2015
Deposited On:15 Dec 2015 09:56
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:37
Publisher:EMH Swiss Medical Publishers
ISSN:0036-7672
Additional Information:Review article: Medical intelligence
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2015.14212

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