Transmissible mink encephalopathy: infectivity of corneal epithelium

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Science  21 Feb 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4177, pp. 656
DOI: 10.1126/science.803711


Corneal epithelium from hamsters dying of transmissible mink encephalopathy contained a virus titer of 10-4.8 times the 50 percent lethal dose (10-4.8 LD50) per 0.05 milliliter when assayed as a cell suspension derived directly from the infected animal. After one passage in tissue culture, an equivalent concentration of cells contained only 10-0.8 LD50 per 0.05 milliliter.. It is concluded that corneal tissues are infectious; the infectivity may be mainly associated with free nerve endings. However, the most important immediate inference is that corneas from human beings affected with Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease are likely to be lethal if transplanted to healthy recipients.