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close this bookFact sheet No 180: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) - Revised December 2000 (WHO, 2000, 4 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTotal Cases
View the documentEpidemiology
View the documentClinical Features
View the documentDiagnosis
View the documentProbable Cause
View the documentEvidence of vCJD-BSE Link
View the documentOther Human TSEs
View the documentMeasures Taken to Protect Public Health
View the documentWorld Health Organization (WHO) Involvement
View the documentWHO Recommendations


· The clinical presentation, progressive nature of the disease and failure to find any other diagnosis are the hallmarks of vCJD.

· There are no available, completely reliable diagnostic tests for use before the onset of clinical symptoms. However, magnetic resonance (MRI) scans, tonsillar biopsy and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests may be useful diagnostic tests.

· The brainwave pattern observed during an electroencephalogram (EEG) was abnormal in most of the vCJD patients, but the wave forms characteristic of sporadic CJD do not occur.

· Currently the diagnosis of vCJD can only be confirmed following pathological examination of the brain. Characteristically, multiple microscopic and abnormal aggregates encircled by holes are seen, resulting in a daisy-like appearance described by the term "florid plaques".