|Fact sheet No 180: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) - Revised December 2000 (WHO, 2000, 4 p.)|
· The first person to develop symptoms of what turned out to be vCJD became ill in January 1994. Most people who have developed vCJD have lived in the UK. Some of the patients had been long-standing residents in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
· As of early December 2000, the CJD surveillance unit for the UK reported 81 cases of vCJD, including 74 confirmed and 7 probable cases. In addition, there are 6 cases where vCJD is strongly suspected, but the diagnosis has not yet been definitively confirmed by post mortem analysis.
· Some of these patients have donated blood. However, to date vCJD has never been known to have developed in a recipient of this blood; study of possible transmission through blood transfusion continues. The UK no longer sources plasma from its inhabitants, and as a further precautionary measure, has instituted leukocyte reduction (removal of white blood cells) from blood transfusions. Some countries have prohibited donations of blood from persons who have resided in the UK for longer than six months; or (as France has done) for one year.