(2) what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of risk of contracting variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease through brain surgery procedures; and whether he has made an assessment of the (a) merits and (b) cost of implementing measures to mitigate that risk;
(3) what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of risk of contracting variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease through ophthalmological procedures; and whether he has made an assessment of the (a) merits and (b) cost of implementing measures to mitigate that risk.
The Department takes advice from the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) on the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) risk associated with different tissues and different surgical procedures, and takes a precautionary approach to handling such risks. ACDP's advice ranks brain and rear of eye (contacted in some ophthalmic surgery) tissues, and surgery on these tissues, as at high level of potential risk and has published guidance on measures to reduce the risks. All ACDP's advice is available at “Guidance from the ACDP TSE Working Group”:
The Department's 2001 risk assessment for transmission of vCJD via surgical instruments is published at “Risk assessment for transmission of vCJD via surgical instruments: a modelling approach and numerical scenarios:”
A 2005 review of this work, assessing the risk of vCJD transmission via surgery: an interim review, is published at:
Copies of these documents have been placed in the Library-
There has been no specific assessment of the level of risk of contracting vCJD through podiatric procedures. ACDP considers these procedures as low risk on the basis of tissue infectivity and therefore no specific measures are required. As for all surgery high standards of instrument decontamination should be maintained.