Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Policy

Applicable to: Health Service Providers, excluding Health Support Services


TheCreutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Policy (CJD) sets out the infection prevention management procedures and the reporting requirements for CJD that are to be implemented to minimise the risk of transmission of CJD in Western Australian (WA) healthcare facilities.

CJD is a rare and rapidly progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is no known cure. CJD belongs to a group of prion diseases that affect humans known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). These conditions are caused by an accumulation in the brain of an aberrant form of the prion protein (a normal cell surface glycoprotein).

The infective agent of CJD, the prion, is resistant to routine reprocessing procedures used for reusable medical devices (RMDs) for example surgical instruments. Although transmission of CJD in the healthcare setting is very rare, healthcare workers need to be aware of the potential for transmission via RMDs contaminated with the prion, and the need to implement additional reprocessing procedures where an identified risk is determined based on the infectivity of the tissue to which the RMD is exposed and the patient risk factors for CJD.

Any patient with suspected CJD shall have access to appropriate evidence-based healthcare without discrimination or disadvantage.

Variant CJD (vCJD) is linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy and is excluded from the scope of this document as vCJD has not been reported in Australia.

Date of effect: 03 September 2019

Policy Framework

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