Scientists fear threat of second wave of 'mad cow' prion infection

10/19/04

Leading experts address need to reduce risk to global blood supply

WHAT:

Leaders in science, public policy and public health will discuss the "hidden" nature of TSEs, specifically "mad cow" disease and vCJD, its human form; signals that vCJD is not a disease in decline but in a period of incubation with the possibility of a global second wave. The human-to-human threat may increase with recent evidence of at least two recipients of prion-infected blood transfusions from asymptomatic donors who later died of vCJD and new analyses of the disease's probable amplification around the world. New data on technology to prevent transfusion-transmitted prions will be presented at the annual AABB blood conference in Baltimore. Experts convening for symposium at AABB on TSE and the blood supply will be available for interviews.

WHO:

David M. Asher, MD. Supervisory Medical Officer, Division of Emerging and Transfusion-Transmitted Diseases, Office of Blood Research and Review, US Food and Drug Administration: Current status of TSEs in the US, concerns about surveillance and whether we are taking the appropriate precautions.

Roger Eglin, MD. Head of National Transfusion Microbiology Laboratories, National Blood Service, England: Potential for a second wave of vCJD, its asymptomatic nature and long incubation, impact of donor deferral on the blood supply, how the UK is addressing the issue of prion-infected blood and potential next steps.

Antonio Giulivi, MD. Director, Blood Safety Surveillance, Health Canada; Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa: Update on Canadian Consensus Conference on vCJD screening of blood donors, implications for safety and availability of the blood supply.

Paul M. Ness, MD. Director, Transfusion Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital; Editor-in-Chief, Transfusion; former president, AABB: Overview of benefits of universal leukocyte reduction and value of integration with prion reduction for safer and more efficient blood processing.

Laurie Garrett. Award-winning science journalist/author (Betrayal of Trust, The Coming Plague): The breakdown of public health systems, bioterror, emerging diseases and implications for vCJD.

Sam Coker, PhD. Principal Scientist and Technical Director, Pall Medical: Results of new research on prion reduction by blood filtration technology (Scientific presentation: Monday, October 25, 2:45 pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Room 349/350.)

WHEN/WHERE:

Contact B&Y Communications for background information and to schedule interviews. Media invited to attend Dr. Coker's scientific presentation and/or Symposium sponsored by Pall Corporation, October 25, 7 pm, Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Grand Ballroom 7. RSVP B&Y.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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