Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and exposure to fractionated plasma products

H J T Ward, J M MacKenzie, C A Llewelyn, R S G Knight, P E Hewitt, N Connor, A Molesworth, R G Will

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The risk to public health of onward transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) via blood transfusion and plasma product administration is of on-going concern, particularly with the recent reported detection of abnormal prion protein in a person with haemophilia.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the history of fractionated plasma product exposure in clinical cases of vCJD in the UK.

METHODS: Through examination of records held at the National CJD Surveillance Unit (from relatives, general practices and hospitals).

RESULTS: Nine out of 168 UK vCJD cases had a history of receipt of fractionated plasma products on 12 different occasions (1 pre-vCJD risk in 1970, the remaining between 1989-1998). According to the UK CJD Incident Panel risk assessment criteria, 11 were low-risk products and one was low or medium risk.

CONCLUSION: It is unlikely that any of the UK vCJD clinical cases to date were infected through exposure to fractionated plasma products. However, the possibility that such transmission may result in vCJD cases in the future cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-210
Number of pages4
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Chemical Fractionation
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome
  • Female
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plasma
  • Probability
  • Rho(D) Immune Globulin
  • Risk
  • gamma-Globulins

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