Surveillance for vCJD

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors the trends and current incidence of CJD in the United States using several surveillance mechanisms. On a routine basis, CDC reviews the national multiple cause-of-death data taken from death certificates and compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC.  The most systematic method includes analyzing death certificate information from U.S. multiple cause-of-death data, compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC.

Currently, CDC works with selected state health departments on various enhanced CJD surveillance projects and education programs regarding the importance of autopsy to both the surveillance and diagnosis of CJD. In addition, CDC collects, reviews and when indicated, actively investigates specific reports by health care personnel or institutions in all states of possible iatrogenic CJD and variant CJD cases. In addition, with the support of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, CDC conducts follow-up review of clinical and neuropathology records of CJD decedents aged <55 years who are identified through the national mortality data analysis or reported by health care workers. This is the age group in which almost all of the vCJD cases worldwide have occurred to date.

In 1996-97, CDC established, in collaboration with the American Association of Neuropathologists, the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center  at Case Western Reserve University, which performs special state-of-the-art diagnostic tests for prion diseases, including post-mortem tests for vCJD.

These surveillance methods for CJD enhance the ability to identify cases of variant CJD if and when such cases occur in the United States.

For more information about surveillance and diagnosis of CJD, see the following article: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease surveillance and diagnosis. Belay ED, Holman RC, Schonberger LB. CID September 15 2005;41:834-836.

A summary of the analysis of multiple cause-of-death data was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on November 8, 2000 (Volume 284, No. 18, pp. 2322-3) and in Clinics of Laboratory Medicine in December 2002 (Volume 22, pp. 849-62).

For more information on reported cases: Reported cases of vCJD in the United States.