Friday, June 14, 2013

Fraser Health Statement on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Fraser Health Statement on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

June 14, 2013

Dr. Paul Van Buynder, Chief Medical Health Officer has released the following statement to clarify reports about suspect cases of “human mad cow disease” in the Lower Mainland:

“I am concerned to see reports this evening in social and traditional media related to our investigation into a small number of possible cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Media have reported that these cases are connected to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy – more commonly known as mad cow disease.

Fraser Health has investigated six possible cases of CJD over the past year. After a case review today we can say that one person has CJD and two others are very likely to have it. The other three cases are very unlikely to have CJD.

I want to be clear there is absolutely no evidence that these three confirmed or probable cases are linked to food consumption.

CJD is a neurological disorder reported an average of about 30 times a year in Canada. There are a handful of cases reported in B.C. each year and we expect around 2 cases in the Fraser region. While three in this time frame is one or two more than I expect, it is within statistical likelihood.

There is no outbreak and I want to reassure residents of the lower mainland that there is no risk to the public or to residents in our facilities.

These are classical cases of CJD. Tests conducted on these patients have ruled out variant CJD associated with disease in cattle. There has never been a home grown case of variant CJD in Canada so this is not surprising.

We have a strong public health surveillance system in B.C. and a review of the cases has not revealed any links between them which would suggest a common source of any kind. The patients investigated come from a number of different cities and settings.

Our sympathies are with the families of these cases of severe progressive disease."

Dr. Paul Van Buynder

Learn more about Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.