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Second blood-linked vCJD case

suggests a bigger at-risk population

Philip Hunter(phunter@philiphunter.com)

Researchers in the United Kingdom have reported the country's second case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) thought to be associated with blood transfusion. The patient involved had a different prion protein genotype than all other cases so-far identified, suggesting more people than previously thought may be susceptible.

The case, reported in The Lancet, involved a person known to have received blood transfusions from a donor who later developed clinical symptoms of vCJD. The person died of other causes, but was revealed to be carrying the disease upon autopsy.

All previous cases of vCJD, whatever the method of transmission, involved people homozygous for methionine (MM) at codon 129 of PRNP, the prion protein gene. According to a Finnish study, 42% of the UK population is MM homozygous, with 47% heterozygous methionine/valine (MV) and the remaining 11% homozygous for valine (VV).

Both the latter groups, 58% in total, have...

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