New Scientist. First prion related death in North America confirmed. Several disturbing things about this report. First, a prion infection can’t be confirmed until the death of the patient. Second, equipment used on the infected person can’t be sterilized (we should really think about the use of more disposable equipment for use in medicine, or at least equipment with a disposable coating).
>>>After the preliminary diagnosis in April, an endocscope which had been used on the man was taken out of service. Confirmation of vCJD (prion related illness), which cannot be made until after death, came on Monday, officials said. They say they have now warned 71 people in Saskatchewan that they may have been cross-infected.<<<
This is like a Hollywood script. At the dawn of nanotechnology, a nanodisease barges onto the scene. It’s a virtually undetectable non-biological nano-particle that merely folds proteins, terminator style in a self-replication sequence that increases exponentially until it turns the brains of its victims into gray goo. There is no immunilogical response. There is no cure. There is no sterilization possible. The vectors of its transmission are changing in unknown ways.
My suggestion: take some sane precautions now or face hysteria later. [John Robb’s Radio Weblog]