Because prion diseases are incurable, specific safety precautions are warranted when performing autopsies on suspected or known cases of prion disease. Universal precautions must be followed, and stainless steel wire-mesh, tear-resistant gloves (shown in the image) should be worn underneath rubber gloves to prevent an accidental puncture of the skin.
Contamination of the work area and gross dissection area can be avoided by the use of non-permeable, absorbent, disposable liner sheets. Instruments and items used during dissection of the specimen should be single-use items when possible. All items used during dissection are disposed of in a double biohazard bag, which is then incinerated.
All non-disposable instruments and work surfaces are decontaminated with the use of bleach. To deactivate transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) infectivity, tissue blocks are soaked in concentrated formic acid for at least one hour followed by fresh 4% formaldehyde for 48 hours.