"THE PRION DISEASES POSE UNIQUE SCIENTIFIC, medical, veterinary and regulatory challenges.
Here, we summarize current information bearing on the natural history,
pathobiology and epidemiology of these disorders and public policy responses to
the potential threats to public health posed, particularly, by bovine spongiform encephalopathy
and variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD). Six years after the first
case reports of vCJD, there is still no clear indication of the magnitude of the primary
epidemic, or of the likelihood of lateral transmission of this untreatable disease
by iatrogenic means, particularly by blood and blood products. However, the
unsettling nature of the available evidence warrants prudence regarding public
health policy and regulation, as well as a forward-looking approach to research."
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