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Prion diseases are efficiently transmitted by blood transfusion in sheep.

Authors
  • Houston, Fiona
  • McCutcheon, Sandra
  • Goldmann, Wilfred
  • Chong, Angela
  • Foster, James
  • Sisó, Silvia
  • González, Lorenzo
  • Jeffrey, Martin
  • Hunter, Nora
Type
Published Article
Journal
Blood
Publisher
American Society of Hematology
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2008
Volume
112
Issue
12
Pages
4739–4745
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2008-04-152520
PMID: 18647958
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The emergence of variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, following on from the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic, led to concerns about the potential risk of iatrogenic transmission of disease by blood transfusion and the introduction of costly control measures to protect blood supplies. We previously reported preliminary data demonstrating the transmission of BSE and natural scrapie by blood transfusion in sheep. The final results of this experiment, reported here, give unexpectedly high transmission rates by transfusion of 36% for BSE and 43% for scrapie. A proportion of BSE-infected transfusion recipients (3 of 8) survived for up to 7 years without showing clinical signs of disease. The majority of transmissions resulted from blood collected from donors at more than 50% of the estimated incubation period. The high transmission rates and relatively short and consistent incubation periods in clinically positive recipients suggest that infectivity titers in blood were substantial and/or that blood transfusion is an efficient method of transmission. This experiment has established the value of using sheep as a model for studying transmission of variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease by blood products in humans.

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