Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare and ultimately fatal degenerative brain disease. It is one of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) that affect humans and animals. TSEs are thought to be caused by the build up of an abnormal form of the naturally occurring ‘prion’ protein in the brain.
Variant CJD is likely to be caused by consuming meat from a cow that has been infected with a similar prion disease called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as ‘mad cow disease’.
Iatrogenic CJD is very rare and occurs when CJD is accidentally transmitted as a result of medical or surgical exposures.
For symptoms and general information on CJD, visit NHS Choices.
CJD section, Public Health England Colindale
The CJD section:
- provides national advice and support to prevent the potential spread of CJD in healthcare setting
- provides advice to local trusts, health boards and health protection teams on the implementation of the CJD incidents guidance
- coordinates studies of the prevalence of abnormal prion protein
- undertakes long term public health monitoring of individuals at increased risk of CJD
Diagnosis and management
The National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit (NCJDRSU) releases monthly information on the number of suspected CJD cases referred for diagnosis and followup, and the number of deaths of definite and probable cases in the UK.
The NCJDRSU also provides an annual update on the work of the unit in the previous 12 months, reflecting the unit’s core surveillance work.
Published 17 October 2008