Prion diseases (TSEs, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) are fatal neurodegenerative diseases that affect both humans and animals, including scrapie in sheep, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in cattle and CJD (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease) and its variant (vCJD) in humans. The recent occurrences of probable cases of transmission of vCJD through blood transfusion raises concerns about the safety of the blood supply and the possibility of transmission of the causative agent by blood transfusion from asymptomatic infected individuals.

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