The appearance and rapid evolution of BSE in UK cattle in the mid 1980s, with compelling data supporting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) as its human manifestation, pose a potentially severe threat to public health. Three clinical cases and one asymptomatic case of vCJD infection have been reported in UK recipients of non-leucodepleted red cell transfusions from donors subsequently diagnosed with vCJD. Plasma from both these and other donors who later developed vCJD has contributed towards plasma pools used to manufacture clotting factor concentrate. The United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Doctors' Organisation (UKHCDO) Surveillance Study has detected asymptomatic vCJD postmortem in a haemophilic patient treated with UK plasma products including two batches of clotting factor linked to a donor who subsequently developed vCJD. Over 4000 bleeding disorder patients treated with UK plasma products are recorded on the UKHCDO National Haemophilia Database. The risk of vCJD transmission by plasma products is not known. However, public health precautions have been implemented since 2004 in all UK inherited bleeding disorder patients who received UK-sourced plasma products between 1980 and 2001 to minimize the possible risk of onward vCJD transmission. We evaluate vCJD surveillance and risk management measures taken for UK inherited bleeding disorder patients, report current data and discuss resultant challenges and future directions.
- Inherited bleeding disorders
- UK plasma products
- Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease