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BACKGROUND: An international study of the epidemiologic characteristics of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) was established in 1993 and included national registries in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. In 1997, the study was extended to Australia, Austria, Canada, Spain, and Switzerland. METHODS: Data were pooled from all participating countries for the years 1993 to 2002 and included deaths from definite or probable CJD of all etiologic subtypes. RESULTS: Four thousand four hundred forty-one cases were available for analysis and included 3,720 cases of sporadic CJD, 455 genetic cases, 138 iatrogenic cases, and 128 variant cases. The overall annual mortality rate between 1999 and 2002 was 1.67 per million for all cases and 1.39 per million for sporadic CJD. Mortality rates were similar in all countries. There was heterogeneity in the distribution of cases by etiologic subtype with an excess of genetic cases in Italy and Slovakia, of iatrogenic cases in France and the UK, and of variant CJD in the UK. CONCLUSIONS: This study has established overall epidemiologic characteristics for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) of all types in a multinational population-based study. Intercountry comparisons did not suggest any relative change in the characteristics of sporadic CJD in the United Kingdom, and the evidence in this study does not suggest the occurrence of a novel form of human bovine spongiform encephalopathy infection other than variant CJD. However, this remains a possibility, and countries currently unaffected by variant CJD may yet have cases.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1586 - 1591


Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Australia, Canada, Causality, Child, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome, Europe, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Geography, Global Health, Humans, Iatrogenic Disease, Male, Middle Aged, Mortality, Population Surveillance, Prion Diseases, Sex Factors, Zoonoses