There is no known way to prevent sporadic CJD. If you have a family history of neurological disease, you may benefit from talking with a genetics counselor, who can help you sort through the risks associated with your situation.
Preventing iatrogenic CJD
Hospitals and other medical institutions follow explicit policies to prevent iatrogenic CJD. These measures have included:
- Exclusive use of synthetic human growth hormone, rather than the kind derived from human pituitary glands
- Destruction of surgical instruments used on the brain or nervous tissue of someone with known or suspected CJD
- Single-use kits for spinal taps (lumbar punctures)
To help ensure the safety of the blood supply, people with a risk of exposure to CJD or vCJD aren't eligible to donate blood. This includes people who:
- Have a biological relative who has been diagnosed with CJD
- Have received a dura mater brain graft
- Have received human growth hormone
- Spent at least three months in the United Kingdom from 1980 to 1996
- Spent five years or more in France since 1980
- Received a blood transfusion in the U.K. since 1980
- Have injected bovine insulin since 1980
The risk of contracting vCJD in the United States remains extremely low. Only three cases have been reported in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strong evidence suggests that these cases were acquired abroad â two in the United Kingdom and one in Saudi Arabia.
In the United Kingdom, where the majority of vCJD cases have occurred, fewer than 200 cases have been reported. CJD incidence peaked between 1999 and 2000 and has been declining since.
Regulating potential sources of vCJD
Most countries have taken steps to prevent BSE-infected tissue from entering the food supply, including:
- Tight restrictions on importation of cattle from countries where BSE is common
- Restrictions on animal feed
- Strict procedures for dealing with sick animals
- Surveillance and testing methods for tracking cattle health
- Restrictions on which parts of cattle can be processed for food