Editorials

Transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in corneal grafts

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7122.1553 (Published 13 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1553

Observing the exclusion criteria for donated grafts should ensure the risk is small

  1. Bruce Allan, Senior registrara,
  2. Stephen Tuft, Consultant ophthalmologista
  1. a Cornea and External Disease Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London EC1V 2PD

    The public and political profile of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies has changed dramatically with the identification of a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease1 and continued uncertainty about the size of the threat this may represent. Against this background, the Scottish Office confirmed last month that ocular tissue from a donor who was later found to have classic (sporadic) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease had been transplanted into three patients. Press coverage of this announcement is certain to stimulate concern among potential recipients of corneal grafts and a reanalysis of measures to prevent iatrogenic disease transmission.

    latrogenic transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was first reported in 1974 in a 55 year old woman who developed symptoms 18 months after corneal transplantation from a donor who was found to have died of the disease.2 Two similar cases have since been identified,3 and the potential for transmission of spongiform encephalopathies, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, via …

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