Prions In Blood -
vCJD Spread
Via Dentistry?
UK To Study Dental Procedures
For vCJD Spread Risk

From Dr. Patricia Doyle, PhD
BBC News online
Scientists are to investigate whether [variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease], the human form of mad cow disease, can be passed on through dental surgery.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA), a [UK] government advisory body, will use mice to see if vCJD can be passed on from contaminated dental instruments. They will also see if the mice show signs of the disease in the tissue in their mouths. The risk is thought to be small, but comes after concerns vCJD could be spread via donated blood and tissue.
The government has taken measures to protect the blood supply by banning donations from certain groups, including those who have had blood transfusions since 1980, after it emerged 2 people may have been infected after having a blood transfusion. There have also been concerns about whether the prions responsible for vCJD can be spread by surgical instruments, especially when used during brain surgery.
The aim of the 3-year experiment is to give the Department of Health more guidance on the risks posed by vCJD in dentistry and to determine whether stricter advice on the best cleaning methods needs to be issued. The study was outlined at the HPA's annual conference at the University of Warwick, which heard an estimated 75 million dental procedures are conducted in the UK each year and 2 million of these are invasive root canal treatments.
Experts will also look at the different methods of decontaminating surgical instruments, such as manual scrubbing, the use of sound waves and washer disinfection.
Researcher Joanne Dickinson said they believed the risks from dental procedures were very small, but the study would help to quantify them. "The Department of Health will have the information to decide what the level of risk is and what measures need to be put in place."
Janet Gibbs, of the Human BSE Foundation, a victim support group, said while dental procedures were not thought to be the highest-risk area, the research was still welcome. "I think it is best that we investigate these things. There are concerns about this, we know of families of people with vCJD who have struggled to see a dentist. But one concern is that people will become alarmed before we know what the risks are."
Test For Detection Of Prions In Blood
Nature Medicine
The following information has been abstracted from a paper entitled "Detection of Prions in Blood", by Joaquin Castilla1, Paula Saa1, & Claudio Soto1; at the Departments of Neurology, Human Biological Chemistry & Genetics and Neuroscience & Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, Texas, 77555-0646, USA and 2 the Centro de Biologia Molecular, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid 28409, Spain.
"Prion diseases are caused by an unconventional infectious agent termed prion, composed mainly of the misfolded prion protein (PrPSc). The development of highly sensitive assays for biochemical detection of PrPSc in blood is a top priority for minimizing the spread of the disease. We have shown that protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) technology can be automated and optimized for high-efficiency amplification of PrPSc.
We show that 140 PMCA cycles leads to a 6600-fold increase in sensitivity over standard detection methods. 2 successive rounds of PMCA cycles resulted in a 10-million-fold increase in sensitivity and a capability to detect as little as 8000 equivalent molecules of PrPSc. Notably, serial PMCA enables detection of PrPSc in blood samples of scrapie-afflicted hamsters with 89 percent sensitivity and 100 percent specificity. These findings represent the first time that PrPSc has been detected biochemically in blood, offering promise for developing a non-invasive method for early diagnosis of prion diseases."
NOTE -- Here are some essential earlier stories loaded with data about the risks of transmitting CJD via exposure to blood and the fact that re-usable medical and dental instruments are no longer fully-sterilizable. --Jeff Rense
Evidence For CJD/TSE Transmission
Via Dental Instruments
Invasive 'Sterilized' Re-Usable Medical/Dental
Instruments As Modes Of CJD/BSE Transmission
Mad Cow Fears Rise Over Prion-Contaminated
Re-Usable Surgical Instruments
UK Won't Ban Re-Usable Surgical Instruments In
Tonsil Removal Despite vCJD Concerns
Scientists Warn Of Mad Cow/CJD Spread In
Dental And Surgical Procedures



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