The human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)

Scully, C., Smith, A.J. and Bagg, J. (2003) The human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Dental Clinics of North America, 47(3), 493 -516.

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The last 5 years have seen the emergence of a new disease in humans (vCJD), mainly in the United Kingdom. This emergence has been accompanied by an explosion of scientific data on a novel group of the responsible infectious agents called prions and has profound implications for infection control and transfusion policies. Also of concern is the finding of prions in neural, gingival, pulpal, and salivary tissue in animal models and significant titers of infectivity from extraneural organs (particularly, in cases of vCJD, in lymphoreticular tissues). There is limited information on the presence of prion proteins in the oral tissues from human studies. Because of the differences in patterns of disease in animal models and in strains of prion protein, it is difficult to extrapolate directly these findings to humans, but it illustrates a potential for transmission by way of the dental route. High levels of infectivity may be present in tissues early in the incubation period and before clinical signs and symptoms. The dental profession must turn its attention to the routine decontamination of dental instruments to ensure that these procedures are performed to the highest regulatory standard. Clinicians and manufacturers must work closely together to develop instruments that are either single use or can be presented in a form that can be more easily decontaminated. Clinicians must pay close attention to manufacturers' decontamination instructions and must not reuse items designated as single use, such as endodontic files. Improvements in compliance with these requirements will not only reduce the risk of transmission of TSEs but also other less tenacious infectious agents.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bagg, Professor Jeremy
Authors: Scully, C., Smith, A.J., and Bagg, J.
Subjects:R Medicine > RK Dentistry
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:Dental Clinics of North America

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