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The World in Medicine
March 17, 2004

vCJD and Transfusion Risk

JAMA. 2004;291(11):1313. doi:10.1001/jama.291.11.1313-c

Researchers in England and Scotland have identified what they say may be the first case of possible transmission through a blood transfusion of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human version of mad cow disease (Lancet. 2004;363:417-421).

The researchers identified 48 individuals who received a blood component from donors who later developed vCJD; one of the 48 subsequently developed symptoms of the illness. Although it isn't possible to rule out that the transfusion recipient contracted vCJD from eating infected meat, the researchers calculated that the "chance of observing a case of vCJD in a recipient in the absence of transfusion-transmitted infection is about 1 in 15 000 to 1 in 30 000."

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