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From: TSS ()
Subject: Position Statement vCJD and Dentistry SEAC UPDATE DISTURBING
Date: June 9, 2007 at 7:52 am PST

Position Statement


Position Statement vCJD and Dentistry
1. The Department of Health (DH) asked SEAC to advise on the findings of preliminary research aimed at informing estimates of the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) transmission via dentistry.

2. Prions are more resistant than other types of infectious agent to the conventional cleaning and sterilisation practices used to decontaminate dental instruments1. Appreciable quantities of residual material may remain adherent to the surface after normal cleaning and sterilisation2. Therefore, if dental tissues are both infectious and susceptible to infection, then dental instruments are a potential mechanism for the secondary transmission of vCJD. Dentistry could be a particularly significant route of transmission for the population as a whole, due to the large number of routine procedures undertaken and also because dental patients have a normal life expectancy. This is in contrast with other transmission routes, such as blood transfusion and neurosurgery, where procedures are often carried out in response to some life-threatening condition. Additionally, the ubiquity of dental procedures and the lack of central records on dental procedures means that should such transmission occur, then it would be difficult to detect and control.

3. No cases of vCJD transmission arising from dental procedures have been reported to date 3 . Previous DH risk assessments4,5 have focused on two possible mechanisms for the transfer of vCJD infectivity via dental instruments; accidental abrasion of the lingual tonsil and endodontic procedures that involve contact with dental pulp. In considering these assessments, SEAC agreed that the risk of transmission via accidental abrasion of the lingual tonsil appears very low. However, the risk of transmission via endodontic procedures may be higher and give rise to a self sustaining vCJD epidemic under circumstances where (i) dental pulp is infective, (ii) transmission via endodontic instruments is efficient and (iii) a large proportion of vCJD infections remain in a subclinical carrier state (SEAC 91, February 2006). In light of this, SEAC advised that restricting endodontic files and reamers to single use be considered 6. SEAC recommended reassessment of these issues as new data emerge.

New research
4. Preliminary, unpublished results of research from the Health Protection Agency, aimed at addressing some of the uncertainties in the risk assessments, were reviewed by SEAC (SEAC 97, May 2007). The prion agent used in these studies is closely related to the vCJD agent. This research, using a mouse model, shows that following inoculation of mouse-adapted bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) directly into the gut, infectivity subsequently becomes widespread in tissues of the oral cavity, including dental pulp, salivary glands and gingiva, during the preclinical as well as clinical stage of disease.

5. It is not known how closely the level and distribution of infectivity in the oral cavity of infected mice reflects those of humans infected with vCJD, as there are no comparable data from oral tissues, in particular dental pulp and gingiva, from human subclinical or clinical vCJD cases7. Although no abnormal prion protein was found in a study of human dental tissues, including dental pulp, salivary glands and gingiva from vCJD cases , the relationship between levels of infectivity and abnormal prion protein is unclear8. Infectivity studies underway using the mouse model and oral tissues that are presently available from human vCJD cases will provide some comparable data. On the basis of what is currently known, there is no reason to suppose that the mouse is not a good model for humans in respect to the distribution of infectivity in oral tissues. Furthermore, the new data are consistent with published results from experiments using a hamster scrapie model9 .

6. A second set of experiments using the same mouse model showed that non-invasive and transient contact between gingival tissue and fine dental files contaminated with mouse-adapted BSE brain homogenate transmits infection very efficiently. It is not known how efficient gingival transmission would be if dental files were contaminated with infectious oral tissues and then subsequently cleaned and sterilised, a situation which would more closely model human dental practice. Further studies using the mouse model that would be more representative of the human situation, comparing oral tissues with a range of doses of infectivity, cleaned and sterilised files and the kind of tissue contact with instruments that occurs during dentistry, should be considered.

7. SEAC considered that the experiments appear well designed and the conclusions justified and reliable, while recognising that the research is incomplete and confirmatory experiments have yet to be completed. It is recommended that the research be completed, submitted for peer-review and widely disseminated as soon as possible so others can consider the implications. Nevertheless, these preliminary data increase the possibility that some oral tissues of humans infected with vCJD may potentially become infective during the preclinical stage of the disease. In addition, they increase the possibility that infection could potentially be transmitted not only via accidental abrasion of the lingual tonsil or endodontic procedures but a variety of routine dental procedures. Implications for transmission risks

8. The new findings help refine assumptions made about the level of infectivity of dental pulp and the stage of incubation period when it becomes infective in the risk assessment of vCJD transmission from the reuse of endodontic files and reamers10. For example, if one patient in 10 000 were to be carrying infection (equivalent to about 6 000 people across the UK – the best current estimate11), the data suggest that in the worst case scenario envisaged in the risk assessment, re-use of endodontic files and reamers might lead to up to 150 new infections per annum. It is not known how many of those infected would go on to develop clinical vCJD. In addition, transmission via the re-use of endodontic files and reamers could be sufficiently efficient to cause a self-sustaining vCJD epidemic arising via this route.

9. These results increase the importance of obtaining reliable estimates of vCJD infection prevalence. Data that will soon be available from the National Anonymous Tonsil Archive may help refine this assessment and provide evidence of the existence and extent of subclinical vCJD infection in tonsillectomy patients. Further data, such as from post mortem tissue or blood donations, will be required to assess prevalence in the general UK population12.

10. Recent guidance issued by DH to dentists to ensure that endodontic files and reamers are treated as single use13 is welcomed and should, as long as it is effectively and quickly implemented, prevent transmission and a self-sustaining epidemic arising via this route. However, the extent and monitoring of compliance with this guidance in private and National Health Service dental practice is unclear.

11. The new research also suggests that dental procedures involving contact with other oral tissues, including gingiva, may also be capable of transmitting vCJD. In the absence of a detailed risk assessment examining the potential for transmission via all dental procedures, it is not possible to come to firm conclusions about the implications of these findings for transmission of vCJD. However, given the potential for transmission by this route serious consideration should be given to assessing the options for reducing transmission risks such as improving decontamination procedures and practice or the implementation of single use instruments.

12. The size of the potential risk from interactions between the dental and other routes of secondary transmission, such as blood transfusion and hospital surgery, to increase the likelihood of a self-sustaining epidemic is unclear.

13. It is likely to be difficult to distinguish clinical vCJD cases arising from dietary exposure to BSE from secondary transmissions via dental procedures, should they arise, as a large proportion of the population is likely both to have consumed contaminated meat and undergone dentistry. However, an analysis of dental procedures by patient age may provide an indication of the age group in which infections, if they occur, would be most likely to be observed. Should the incidence of clinical vCJD cases in this age group increase significantly, this may provide an indication that secondary transmission via dentistry is occurring. Investigation of the dental work for these cases may provide supporting data. There is no clear evidence, to date, based on surveillance or investigations of clinical vCJD cases, that any vCJD cases have been caused by dental procedures but this possibility cannot be excluded.

14. Preliminary research findings suggest that the potential risk of transmission of vCJD via dental procedures may be greater than previously anticipated. Although this research is incomplete, uses an animal model exposed to relatively high doses of infectivity, and there are no data from infectivity studies on human oral tissues, these findings suggest an increased possibility that vCJD may be relatively efficiently transmitted via a range of dental procedures. Ongoing infectivity studies using human oral tissues and the other studies suggested here will enable more precise assessment of the risks of vCJD transmission through dental procedures.

15. Guidance was issued to dentists earlier this year recommending that endodontic files and reamers be treated as single use which, provided it is adhered to, will remove any risk of a self-sustaining epidemic arising from re-use of these instruments. To minimise risk it is critical that appropriate management and audit is in place, both for NHS and private dentistry.

16. It is also critical that a detailed and comprehensive assessment of the risks of all dental procedures be conducted as a matter of urgency. While taking into account the continuing scientific uncertainties, this will allow a more thorough consideration of the possible public health implications of vCJD transmission via dentistry and the identification of possible additional precautionary risk reduction measures. The assessment will require continued updating as more evidence becomes available on the transmissibility of vCJD by dental routes, and on the prevalence of infection within the population. A DH proposal to convene an expert group that includes dental professionals to expedite such an assessment is welcomed. Given the potential for transmission via dentistry, consideration should be given to the urgent assessment of new decontamination technologies which, if proved robust and effective, could significantly reduce transmission risks.

June 2007

1Smith et al. (2003) Prions and the oral cavity. J. Dent. Res. 82, 769-775.

2Smith et al. (2005) Residual protein levels on reprocessed dental instruments. J. Hosp. Infect. 61, 237-241.

3Everington et al. (2007) Dental treatment and risk of variant CJD – a case control study. Brit. Den. J. 202, 1-3.

4Department of Health. (2003) Risk assessment for vCJD and dentistry.

5 Department of Health (2006) Dentistry and vCJD: the implications of a carrier-state for a self-sustaining epidemic. Unpublished.

6SEAC (2006) Position statement on vCJD and endodontic dentistry.

7Head et al. (2003) Investigation of PrPres in dental tissues in variant CJD. Br. Dent. J. 195, 339-343.

8SEAC 90 reserved business minutes.

9Ingrosso et al. (1999) Transmission of the 263K scrapie strain by the dental route. J. Gen. Virol. 80, 3043-3047.

10Department of Health (2006) Dentistry and vCJD: the implications of a carrier-state for a self-sustaining epidemic. Unpublished.

11Clarke & Ghani (2005) Projections of future course of the primary vCJD epidemic in the UK: inclusion of subclinical infection and the possibility of wider genetic susceptibility R. J. Soc. Interface. 2, 19-31.

12SEAC Epidemiology Subgroup (2006) position statement of the vCJD epidemic.

13DH (2007) Precautionary advice given to dentists on re-use of instruments

Page updated: 8 June, 2007

(DH) Precautionary advice given to dentists on vCJD
Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:11

Evidence For
CJD/TSE Transmission
Via Dental Instruments
From Terry S. Singletary, Sr



18 January 2007 - Draft minutes of the SEAC 95 meeting (426 KB) held on 7
December 2006 are now available.


64. A member noted that at the recent Neuroprion meeting, a study was
presented showing that in transgenic mice BSE passaged in sheep may be more
virulent and infectious to a wider range of species than bovine derived BSE.

Other work presented suggested that BSE and bovine amyloidotic spongiform
encephalopathy (BASE) MAY BE RELATED. A mutation had been identified in the


3:30 Transmission of the Italian Atypical BSE (BASE) in Humanized Mouse

Models Qingzhong Kong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pathology, Case Western

Bovine Amyloid Spongiform Encephalopathy (BASE) is an atypical BSE strain
discovered recently in Italy, and similar or different atypical BSE cases
were also reported in other countries. The infectivity and phenotypes of
these atypical BSE strains in humans are unknown. In collaboration with
Pierluigi Gambetti, as well as Maria Caramelli and her co-workers, we have
inoculated transgenic mice expressing human prion protein with brain
homogenates from BASE or BSE infected cattle. Our data shows that about half
of the BASE-inoculated mice became infected with an average incubation time
of about 19 months; in contrast, none of the BSE-inoculated mice appear to
be infected after more than 2 years.

***These results indicate that BASE is transmissible to humans and suggest
that BASE is more virulent than
classical BSE in humans.***

6:30 Close of Day One

1997 TO 2006. SPORADIC CJD CASES TRIPLED, with phenotype
of 'UNKNOWN' strain growing. ...

There is a growing number of human CJD cases, and they were presented last
week in San Francisco by Luigi Gambatti(?) from his CJD surveillance

He estimates that it may be up to 14 or 15 persons which display selectively
SPRPSC and practically no detected RPRPSC proteins.

Diagnosis and Reporting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Singeltary, Sr et al. JAMA.2001; 285: 733-734.



vCJD in the USA * BSE in U.S.
15 November 1999


U.S. Scientist should be concerned with a CJD epidemic in the U.S., as
2 January 2000


MARCH 26, 2003

RE-Monitoring the occurrence of emerging forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob

disease in the United States

Email Terry S. Singeltary:

I lost my mother to hvCJD (Heidenhain Variant CJD). I would like to

comment on the CDC's attempts to monitor the occurrence of emerging

forms of CJD. Asante, Collinge et al [1] have reported that BSE

transmission to the 129-methionine genotype can lead to an alternate

phenotype that is indistinguishable from type 2 PrPSc, the commonest

sporadic CJD. However, CJD and all human TSEs are not reportable

nationally. CJD and all human TSEs must be made reportable in every

state and internationally. I hope that the CDC does not continue to

expect us to still believe that the 85%+ of all CJD cases which are

sporadic are all spontaneous, without route/source. We have many TSEs in

the USA in both animal and man. CWD in deer/elk is spreading rapidly and

CWD does transmit to mink, ferret, cattle, and squirrel monkey by

intracerebral inoculation. With the known incubation periods in other

TSEs, oral transmission studies of CWD may take much longer. Every

victim/family of CJD/TSEs should be asked about route and source of this

agent. To prolong this will only spread the agent and needlessly expose

others. In light of the findings of Asante and Collinge et al, there

should be drastic measures to safeguard the medical and surgical arena

from sporadic CJDs and all human TSEs. I only ponder how many sporadic

CJDs in the USA are type 2 PrPSc?

Copyright © 2003 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Tracking spongiform encephalopathies in North America

Xavier Bosch

Available online 29 July 2003.

Volume 3, Issue 8, August 2003, Page 463

“My name is Terry S Singeltary Sr, and I live in Bacliff, Texas. I lost my
mom to hvCJD (Heidenhain variant CJD)
and have been searching for answers ever since. What I have found is that we
have not been told the truth. CWD
in deer and elk is a small portion of a much bigger problem.”

see history of cjd questionnaire

sporadic CJD, the big lie


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