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Rare degenerative disease may have spread in NH hospitals

3:35 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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CONCORD, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER) - New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services says that a deadly degenerative disease may have spread through the surgery department of a hospital in Manchester.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a rare and fatal disease, according to the DHHS news release. It affects the nervous system and causes deterioration of the brain. It is uncurable.

This strain is called sporadic CJD. It is related to, but separate from, variant CJD - also known as mad cow disease. Sporadic CJD is not spread from eating contaminated beef.

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH found out that a patient doctors had performed neurosurgery on died of CJD. It's a condition that can only be diagnosed through autopsy.

CJD is caused by a prion, which is a kind of malevolent protein. Prions are not wiped out by standard sterilizing practices in hospitals. Neurosurgical equipment used in the surgery of a patient who recently died from CJD was used on eight other patients.

Health officials in New Hampshire say that the risk to these eight people is extremely low but they plan to work with the patients and keep them informed.

There is no further risk to the general public, to other patients at CMC or to employees there.

NEWS CENTER

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