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Dirty cautery spatula. Macrophotograph of a cautery spatula with blood or tissue still attached after sterilisation. The spatula was sterilised in an autoclave, a pressurised steam- heated device that heats objects to very high temperatures. This kills virtually all bacteria and viruses. However, some disease vectors, including prions, the infective agent of Creutzfeldt-Jacobs disease (CJD) the human form of mad cow disease, are not destroyed by autoclaving. Dirty surgical instruments could pass on such diseases. A cautery spatula is a heating device used to seal (cauterise) blood vessels during surgery to prevent blood loss. Magnification: x8 when printed at 10 centimetres tall.
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