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CDC dismisses report of woman with mad-cow linked disease

CDC dismisses report of woman with mad-cow linked disease

The Center for Disease Control yesterday announced that a suspected case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease reported by the National Cheng Kung University Hospital had been preliminarily ruled out by a panel of experts, dismissing a media report that the female patient might have been infected with a new variant of CJD (nv-CJD) by receiving placenta injections.
The Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday that the patient had been showing classic signs of CJD over the past 10 months, citing a NCKU hospital medical team as saying they suspected the patient could be suffering from nv-CJD. The team said that the woman had received placenta injections for a long period of time before checking into the NCKU hospital for treatment, and the placenta could have been contaminated by the agent that gives cattle Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease.
The CDC said in a statement that its specialists met in March to discuss the case - reported by the NCKU hospital - and based on limited information, made a preliminarily diagnosis that the patient was not suffering from CJD. However, the CDC has now decided to call in its specialists on to re-examine the case on September 8 after the NCKU hospital provides it with more details of the patient's background.
CDC officials went on to explain their decision in March was made primarily on the grounds that placenta injections are banned in Taiwan and that there is nothing in medical literature to indicate that any CJD cases have been caused by placenta injections.
As to whether the patient had used placenta, the CDC statement cited the result of a government investigation, which discovered that the patient's family denied the woman had a record of using placenta.
Classic CJD is very rare, striking about one person in a million every year worldwide, and there is no known cure. Mostly the cases are described as being "sporadic" because there is no known cause, but a few cases have been linked to organ transplants from infected people, or to genetics. The classic type of CJD usually strikes people aged 50 or older.
New variant CJD was first diagnosed in the United Kingdom in 1995 and scientists have tentatively linked the disease to eating meat products from cattle infected with BSE, although many victims who have succumbed to CJD are known not to have eaten contaminated meat.
Except for a few cases in other European nations with BSE, nv-CJD has been found almost exclusively in the United Kingdom. It strikes younger people and often begins with psychiatric symptoms and progresses slowly.
Both diseases are brain-wasting, eventually destroying the victims' motor skills and coordination, and both show a characteristic sponge like appearance in the victims' brains in an autopsy. Both varieties are fatal and transmissible.
To date, a total of 175 CJD cases have been reported in Taiwan, and approximately a dozen cases are reported each year, according to CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hao.


Updated : 2021-06-19 01:27 GMT+08:00