Treating Tools to Avoid Prion Cross-ContaminationJune 11th, 2012
Mad cow disease, or, as it’s more formally known, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a transmissible disease that deforms neural tissue and results in death. It’s particularly scary because it can be transmitted from tissues of an infected cow or steer to humans, where it results in a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It’s possible that the infection can go undetected for years, or even decades. One problem with this is that the prions that carry the disease might be transmitted from one patient to another in a clinical setting. To address that problem, two British physicians, from James Cook University Hospital and Western General Hospital, defined a protocol for treating endoscopic instruments between patients. For “high risk” instruments, they recommended ultrasonic cleaning as part of the routine.
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