Dr Anna Molesworth is Senior Epidemiologist at the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit.
CJD is a very rare disease affecting the brain and nervous system. It is one of a group of diseases called prion diseases that exist in different forms, all of which are currently untreatable and ultimately fatal.
Most cases of CJD have no known cause. However some cases may result from person to person spread via blood transfusion or treatment with certain plasma or hormone products, or certain types of surgery.
Enhanced epidemiological surveillance and public health investigations help us understand how big the risk of CJD spreading by medical treatment is, and how we might reduce this risk.
Research aims and areas of interest
- Enhanced CJD surveillance in the older population: dementia-based clinical and pathological investigation in the local community and banked brain donations.
- Provision of advice and support to local health protection teams to prevent the potential spread of CJD in healthcare settings; public health referral, review and investigation of local cases.
- The study of possible iatrogenic transmission of CJD/vCJD through the identification and investigation of surgical and other medical associations between cases, including medical look-back and case-control studies.
- Enhanced surveillance of “at risk” patient groups for evidence of CJD/vCJD: case detection, review and post-mortem investigation.
- Surveillance of potential occupational exposure to CJD/vCJD: case review and follow-up for healthcare and laboratory workers
Research group members
- Public Health England
- Health Protection Scotland
Sources of funding
Enhanced epidemiological surveillance and public health activities are funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme and by the Scottish Government Health Department, as part of the core NCJDRSU grant.