Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease surveillance in Australia: update to December 2017

Commun Dis Intell (2018) 2019 Jul 16;43. Epub 2019 Jul 16.

Australian National Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease Registry, Department of Medicine (RMH) and The Florey Institute, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, 3010, Australia

Nationwide surveillance of human prion diseases (also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies), the most common being Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), is performed by the Australian National Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease Registry (ANCJDR), based at the University of Melbourne. National surveillance encompasses the period since 1970, with prospective surveillance occurring from 1993 onwards. Over this prospective surveillance period considerable developments have occurred, especially in relation to pre-mortem diagnostics, the delineation of new disease subtypes and a heightened awareness of prion diseases in the health care setting. The surveillance practices of the ANCJDR have evolved and adapted accordingly. Since the ANCJDR began offering cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 14-3-3 protein testing in Australia in September 1997, the annual number of referrals has steadily increased to a maximum of 508 in 2017. The number of CSF test referrals in 2017 represents a 20% increase compared to that of 2016. In 2017, there was an overall stabilisation of the annual incidence rate of confirmed prion disease in Australia at expected levels; 72 persons with suspected human prion disease were added to the national register, with 72% of all suspected CJD cases undergoing neuropathological examination. The majority of the 72 suspected cases added to the register are as of 31 December 2017 still classified as “incomplete” (47 cases), while four cases were excluded by either detailed clinical follow-up (1 case) or neuropathological examination (3 cases); 19 cases were classified as definite and two as probable prion disease. No cases of variant CJD (vCJD) were confirmed.

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July 2019

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