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BACKGROUND: The Republic of Ireland has the second highest incidence of BSE worldwide. Only a single case of vCJD has been identified to date. METHODS: We estimate the total future number of clinical cases of vCJD using an established mathematical model, and based on infectivity of bovine tissue calculated from UK data and on the relative exposure to BSE contaminated meat. RESULTS: We estimate 1 future clinical case (95% CI 0-15) of vCJD in the Republic of Ireland. Irish exposure is from BSE infected indigenous beef products and from imported UK beef products. Additionally, 2.5% of the Irish population was exposed to UK beef through residing in the UK during the 'at-risk' period. The relative proportion of risk attributable to each of these three exposures individually is 2:2:1 respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The low numbers of future vCJD cases estimated in this study is reassuring for the Irish population and for other countries with a similar level of BSE exposure.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC infectious diseases

Publication Date





CJD Surveillance Unit, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Animals, Cattle, Humans, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome, Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform, Incidence, Risk Factors, Food Contamination, Models, Biological, Meat Products, Ireland