Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease - Prevention

Since the causes of sporadic CJD are not known, there is no known way to prevent the disease. Cases of iatrogenic CJD can be prevented by screening donor tissue for possible infection. Standard sterile procedures can also provide some protection against possible transmission of the disease during surgery. Since CJD is a genetic disorder, there is no way to prevent the condition. However, couples who wish to have children may want to be tested for the presence of a defective CJD gene.

Methods for preventing the spread of nvCJD are under considerable debate. In Great Britain, the government ordered the slaughter of tens of thousands of cows in the hopes of wiping out the disease by killing all animals that carried the prions that caused it. But the cost to the livestock industry was enormous. And, in most cases, no one really knew which cows were infected and which were not.

Other nations have tried to protect themselves from infected British cows. They have passed laws preventing the shipment of beef from Great Britain. So far, these laws appear to have been relatively effective. BSE and nvCJD have not yet broken out in other parts of the world.

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