Mad-Kow-towing to CJD Risk

Raymond Czajko, Susan Janet Matthews, Malcolm Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, and invariably, fatal
brain disorder. Our organisation reported an incident involving possible
contamination of surgical instruments in its operating theatres. As a
consequence, pathology experienced a considerable increase in cerebrospinal
fluid (CSF) samples requesting Protein 14.3.3 assay and querying CJD.
The existing procedure for handling CSF specimens was to measure protein
and glucose on our mainframe analyser and to process and store samples
through the specimen reception area. Safety concerns initiated a review of
this process. The revised protocol had three key requirements: specimen
handling had to be kept to a minimum, the entire procedure had to be
contained in a biohazard cabinet, and all consumables had to be disposable.
The first requirement was met by transferring responsibility for analysis from the
biochemistry department to microbiology who already handled the specimen
for themselves, cytology and referred the sample for 14.3.3 analysis. We had
to find a compact spectrophotometer which used sealed, single use, disposable
cuvettes and was small enough to be housed inside a biohazard cabinet. The
analyser selected was an Eppendorf EPAC 6140. Considerable input was
required from biochemistry in the early stages of the transition and our staff
were involved in the selection, installation and training. Turn around times
for results have been slightly increased as this is largely a manual procedure.
The processing of all CSF samples has been modified and they are now
received, analysed and stored following this new procedure. It has alleviated
safety concerns in handling potentially ‘infective’ CSF specimens.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberP24
Pages (from-to)S24
Number of pages1
JournalClinical Biochemist Reviews
Issue numberi
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralasian Association of Clinical Biochemists 45th Annual Scientific Conference - Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 3 Sept 20076 Sept 2007
Conference number: 45th


  • Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease
  • CJD
  • Risk


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