The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Overview of Prion Diseases. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD): Safeguards

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits the use of most animal proteins in the manufacture of feeds given to cattle and other ruminants.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leads a surveillance system for vCJD and performs random screening of cattle slaughtered in the United States that will be used for human consumption.
  • Promoting less aggressive ways to harvest meat from the carcasses of slaughtered cattle to avoid contamination with brain and spinal cord tissue is critical because cooking, even to a well-done temperature, does not affect/destroy the prions.
  • Make sure “downer” cattle are kept out of the food chain.
  • Cattle should be tracked from birth to slaughter to identify infected cows and destroy their meat.