Background: Transmission of variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) through blood transfusion is implicated in three deaths and one asymptomatic infection. Based on this evidence, individuals assessed to be at increased risk of vCJD through donating blood transfused to individuals who later developed vCJD, or through being other recipients of such donors, are followed up to further understand the risks of vCJD transmission through blood. Objectives: To provide a ten-year follow-up of these at-risk cohorts. Methods: Blood donors to patients who later died from vCJD were identified by the Transfusion Medicine Epidemiological Review (TMER) study. A reverse risk probability assessment quantified the risk of blood transfusion or exposure through diet as the source of vCJD in the recipients. Donors to these recipients, and these donors’ other recipients, with a probability risk above 1%, are classified as at increased risk of vCJD for public health purposes. These cohorts are monitored for any vCJD occurrences. Results: A total of 112 donors and 33 other recipients of their donated blood have been classified as at increased risk. After 2397 and 492 vCJD-free years of follow–up, respectively, no deaths in either at-risk cohort were of vCJD-related causes. Conclusions: The at-risk cohorts have survived disease-free far longer than the estimated incubation time for dietary-acquired vCJD (donors) and transfusion-acquired disease (other recipients). However, due to our still limited understanding of, and a lack of a reliable test for, asymptomatic vCJD infection, public health follow-up is necessary for continued monitoring of at-risk cohorts.
- blood safety
- transfusion – transmissible infections