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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • New variant of CJD
  • Nv-CJD
  • Variant CJD
  • Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease
  • VCJD
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Your Question

Can you tell me if variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) can be sexually transmitted? If scientists believe this is not possible, what evidence is there for this?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Can variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) be sexually transmitted?

According to the article, "Is there a real risk of transmitting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by donor sperm insemination?" by D Mortimer and CL Barratt from 2006, there is no evidence for sexual transmission of prion disease. In addition, a comprehensive search of the medical literature has not identified any reports which would suggest otherwise, although this topic has not been widely studied. The above mentioned study, although focused on donor sperm, mentioned that consensus expert opinion was that the risk of transmission was <1:10,000,000, even for men from the United Kingdom, where more cases of this condition have been reported.[1]  
Last updated: 4/8/2009

Who might I contact to learn more about the possibility of sexual transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

Should you require additional information regarding the possible transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease through sexual contact, we recommend that you contact the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit. This group monitors the incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other human spongiform encephalopathies. The Unit brings together a team of clinical neurologists, neuropathologists and scientists specialising in the investigation of this disease. 

The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit
Western General Hospital
Crewe Road
Clinical Office Telephone: 0131 537 2128
Pathology Telephone: 0131 537 1980
Fax: 0131 343 1404

Last updated: 4/8/2009