A patient in Ireland has recently been diagnosed with probable
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) .
Results of tests on the young male patient, which included tests on a tonsillar
biopsy, have confirmed that this is a probable case of vCJD. The hospital
has stated that the patient never received a blood transfusion or made a
blood donation, and that the cause of infection is not linked to an operation.
The current patient has not lived abroad, and this is therefore Ireland’s
first ‘indigenous’ case .
There has been one other vCJD case in Ireland in the past. However, that
patient had lived in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, the time when the
population was exposed to bovine spongiform encephalopathy in meat products
Ireland has the second highest rate of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
in cattle in the world. In 2003, an expert team at the Irish National CJD
Surveillance Unit (http://www.eurocjd.ed.ac.uk/IRELAND.htm)
modelled the possible risk to the Irish population based on relative exposure
to BSE contaminated meat and infectivity of bovine tissue . Their analysis
indicated that one case of vCJD would be expected in the future.
Measures to reduce the risk of exposure to the vCJD causative agent via consumption
of infected bovine tissue were applied in farming and meat processing in 1996
and via blood donation since 1999 (Irish Blood Transfusion Service, http://www.ibts.ie/generic.cfm?mID=7&sID=106&ssID=21).