Blood Infected With Prions Threatens Public Health

Undiagnosed Victims Are Contagious

British officials warn that almost 30,000 Britons carry a dormant form of mad cow disease unknowingly and it may affect the blood supply, the Global Post is reporting.

Surgical and dental equipment used on a person with prion disease cannot be sterilized and can infect subsequent patients with the deadly disease.

Experts said up to 1,000 people could die from receiving infected blood via tainted blood donations. A study published this month by the government’s Health Protection Analytical team found that 1 in 2,000 Britons may be “silent” carriers of the disease proteins.

Mad cow disease or variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a degenerative brain disease that had started from people eating beef from diseased cows but now can be spread through blood transfusions.

Millions of animals were killed in the 1980s and 1990s in Britain and 176 people died from the disease. Officials say that no new cases have been reported in the past two years.

prion disease epidemic

“There is no room at all for complacency,” former Labor Health Secretary Frank Dobson said. “With a blood test, you would be able to screen every potential donor. If that screening showed the incidence was higher than thought, then maybe you would do it for the whole population.”

Officials said the 176 death count could increase more than five times because the disease has not been eradicated from the blood supply like it was from the food supply, The Telegraph reported.

Canada had a similar exposure to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) via blood transfusions several years ago. All countries are at risk from this ongoing threat to our blood supplies, not to mention the risks associated with dental equipment, utensils and other items that can be reused after a person with prion disease has contaminated them with saliva, blood or other bodily fluids.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform

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