One of Australia's largest hospitals has suspected case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The Royal Melbourne Hospital, one of Australia's largest hospitals, has contacted 1056 patients today after a man died of a suspected case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

In a press statement the hospital stressed that the case was a non variant strain of CJD, that is the strain is not related to the new variant of the disease (usually called just variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), thought to be transmitted by consuming the meat of bovines with so-called mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).

The hospital is now embarking upon the costly clean-up and replacement exercise of medical instruments.

The scare started after a middle-aged man died after undergoing surgery to treat a malignant brain tumor. The man developed severe dementia before passing away. An autopsy later revealed CJD.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a brain disorder characterized by memory loss, jerky movements, gait disorder, rigid posture, and seizures due to a rapid loss of cerebral cells caused by transmissible proteins called prions. The disease is correctly diagnosed in anywhere from one to two people per million and it usually appears in mid-life with an average disease onset age of 50.

Diagnosis is usually established by clinical findings. Biopsy of living brain tissue is definitive. There is currently no treatment for the disease, though as of December 2002 the first test of a proposed treatment (injection of pentosan polysulphate directly into the brain) has been approved in Britain.

Sporadic cases, which have an unknown cause and occur throughout the world at the rate of about one per million people, account for 85–90% of CJD cases.


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