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U.K. Man Dies of vCJD Due to Blood Transfusion

Third known case of prion transmission due to blood transfusions suggests other recipients at risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- U.K. researchers have reported a third case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) transmission that occurred as a result of a blood transfusion. The case "emphasizes the substantial risk faced by other recipients of vCJD-implicated blood components," the authors write in the Dec. 9 issue of The Lancet.

John Collinge, M.D., of the National Prion Clinic in London, U.K., and colleagues present the case report of a third patient who acquired prion disease after receiving blood products from an infected donor. An additional 24 patients who are alive and symptom-free are known to have received blood products from donors who later developed vCJD.

The 31-year-old male patient developed symptoms of vCJD six years after receiving a blood transfusion while undergoing surgery for Crohn's disease. The blood donor developed vCJD 20 months after donating the blood. Autopsy confirmed the presence of prion infection and the diagnosis of vCJD.

"That transmission of vCJD by transfusion is manifest and could have led to propagation of the epidemic is becoming increasingly apparent," write Canadian specialists Kumanan Wilson, M.D. and Maura Ricketts, M.D., of Toronto General Hospital, in an accompanying comment.

Two of the authors are associated with D-Gen Limited, a company aimed at diagnosis and treatment of prion disease and manufacturer of a diagnostic antibody used in the study.

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