Another case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has been
identified by the surveillance system set up by the Institut de Veille Sanitaire
and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in France.
This is the eighth case to have been identified in France since 1996.
The patient is known to have donated blood on several occasions between
1993 and 2003. These donations were used to supply red blood cells for transfusion,
and also for the manufacture of blood products. None of the seven previous
French vCJD patients had, to the knowledge of their families and the National
Blood Service, donated blood.
The risk of vCJD transmission by transfusion has been informed by recent
reports from the UK [2,3]. The ten people who have received transfusions
(red blood cells) donated by this donor/vCJD patient are being informed
by their doctor of their risk and any actions they should take.
The risk of vCJD transmission by plasma-derived products has not been established,
and if it exists, may be reduced by various stages of fractionation. The
French Laboratory of Fractionation and Biotechnologies has identified the
product batches in which the plasma from this vCJD case was used. Distribution
of these batches has been stopped and a recall of products in stock is being
The risk of transmission of vCJD by blood products has been evaluated several
times by the French Agency for Safety of Health products (l’Agence française
de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé, AFSSAPS),
most recently in February 2004.
The risks to the individuals who have received blood products of the implicated
batches will be assessed by an expert group convened by the AFSSAPS, with
consideration of the nature of the product and the quantities received.
This article was translated and adapted from reference 1 by the Eurosurveillance