Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease has been blamed for the death of a man in New Hampshire, and public health officials believe that up to 13 other people may have been exposed to the illness.
The symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease are changes in behavior, loss of memory, lack of coordination, and other neurological difficulties. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease occurs without warning, and progresses at such a rapid rate, that an inflicted patient can die within a few months from contracting the disease.
Fox News reports that the disease is transmitted by exposure to brain or nervous system tissue,
Public health director Dr. Jose Montero said.
'Only four cases of transmission via surgical instruments have been recorded, none in the United States,' adding that, 'another 10 to 15 percent of the cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob involve a genetic mutation that is passed down among families.'
Catholic Medical Center, where the deceased patient contracted and died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, has quarantined all their medical equipment until further autopsy reports are completed. The hospital has also increased the temperature used to sterilize their surgical instruments. The disease causes proteins in the brain to fold, therefore part of the sterilization process is making sure all traces of the protein is removed completely. The disease can only be verified by performing a brain biopsy, or through an autopsy.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is very rare, with only about 200 cases reported annually in the United States. Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, has contacted eight patients that may have been exposed to the disease, but the equipment was also used in other hospitals, and health workers are working hard to trace all possibly exposed patients.