Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Germany: a prospective 12-year surveillance

Brain. 2007 May;130(Pt 5):1350-9. doi: 10.1093/brain/awm063.


Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder with a worldwide incidence of 1-1.5 per million. As in other countries, a CJD surveillance unit with a clinical and neuropathological approach was established in Goettingen (Germany) in 1993. Here we report the epidemiological data from a prospective 12-year surveillance. Since 1993, there has been an increasing incidence of CJD, from 0.7 in 1993 to 1.6 in 2005 with a quite stable level since 1998. During this period, the proportion of patients with MV and VV codon 129 genotype rose, possibly because of better identification of atypical subtypes. Six percent of all patients had a PRNP mutation, mainly D178N-129M (FFI), E200K and V210I. Iatrogenic CJD was a rare phenomenon. No patient infected by cadaveric growth hormone extracts was reported. Furthermore, no variant CJD patient has yet been identified in Germany. Differential diagnoses revealed a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, with Alzheimer's disease in the lead. One-third of the non-CJD patients included in this study suffered from a potentially treatable disorder such as metabolic or inflammatory diseases. The incidence and mortality rates in Germany are similar to those in other European countries. In contrast, however, acquired forms, such as iatrogenic and variant CJD are still rare in Germany or have not yet been identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genotype
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • PrPSc Proteins / genetics
  • Prospective Studies


  • PrPSc Proteins