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Updated projections of future vCJD deaths in the UK

Azra C Ghani*, Christl A Donnelly, Neil M Ferguson and Roy M Anderson

Author Affiliations

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2003, 3:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-3-4

Published: 27 April 2003



Past projections of the future course of the vCJD epidemic in the UK have shown considerable uncertainty, with wide confidence bounds. However, recent vCJD case data have indicated a decrease in the annual incidence of deaths over the past two years.


A detailed survival model is fitted to the 121 vCJD deaths reported by the end of 2002 stratified by age and calendar time to obtain projections of future incidence. The model is additionally fitted to recent results from a survey of appendix tissues.


Our results show a substantial decrease in the uncertainty of the future course of the primary epidemic in the susceptible genotype (MM-homozygous at codon 129 of the prion protein gene), with a best estimate of 40 future deaths (95% prediction interval 9–540) based on fitting to the vCJD case data alone. Additional fitting of the appendix data increases these estimates (best estimate 100, 95% prediction interval 10–2,600) but remains lower than previous projections.


The primary vCJD epidemic in the known susceptible genotype in the UK appears to be in decline.