Management and Reporting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Policy

Applicable to: This Policy is applicable to the following Health Service Providers: Child and Adolescent Health Service, East Metropolitan Health Service, North Metropolitan Health Service, South Metropolitan Health Service and Western Australia Country Health Service.

Description: The Management and Reporting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Policy describes the mandatory infection prevention management and the reporting requirements for CJD to minimise the risk of transmission of CJD in Western Australian healthcare facilities.

This Policy will ensure that patients with suspected CJD shall have access to appropriate evidence-informed healthcare without discrimination or disadvantage.

CJD is a rare and rapidly progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is no known cure. CJD belongs to a group of prion diseases that affect humans known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). These conditions are caused by an accumulation in the brain of an aberrant form of a normal cell surface glycoprotein, prion protein.

Although transmission of CJD in a healthcare setting is very rare, there is the potential for transmission to occur via contaminated reusable medical devices. The infective agent of CJD, the prion, is resistant to routine reprocessing procedures. Therefore, additional reprocessing procedures must be implemented when an identified risk is determined based on the infectivity of the tissue to which the reusable medical device is exposed, and the patient risk factors for CJD.

For this document, the term CJD is used to describe all forms of human TSE (sporadic, inherited and acquired) except variant CJD (vCJD), which is linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and is excluded from the scope of this document as it has not yet been reported in Australia.

Although cases of CJD have been reported in healthcare staff, there are no confirmed cases linked to occupational exposure. There is no evidence to indicate that staff are at an increased occupational risk for acquiring CJD.

This Policy is a mandatory requirement under the Public Health Policy Framework pursuant to section 26(2)(c) of the Health Services Act 2016.

In addition, CJD is a notifiable infectious disease and reporting of confirmed, probable and possible cases is a mandatory requirement pursuant to Part 9, Division 2 Public Health Act 2016.

Date of effect: 13 May 2022

Policy Framework

Related documents

Supporting information