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CDC reports possible CJD case; no connection with mad cow disease

2012/05/03 14:40:08

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control announced Thursday a very likely case of classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but noted that the neurological disorder is not linked to the human form of mad cow disease.

The symptoms displayed by the patient, who has since died, bore high resemblance to those of a classic CJD case, according to the findings of neurology specialists, said Chou Jih-haw, the centers’ deputy director-general.

“The disease, however, should not be confused with variant CJD (vCJD), which is contracted through eating meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease,” he said in a telephone interview.

Classic CJD -- which is not associated with infected beef consumption -- can be hereditary, occur randomly, as with the most recently reported case, or be contracted during surgery, according to a press statement released by the centers.

There have been 279 cases of possible or confirmed CJD in Taiwan since 1996, among which 274 were random and four were hereditary, with only one confirmed as vCJD, it said.

The single vCJD case involved an individual who lived for some time in the United Kingdom and fell ill after returning to Taiwan.

CJD occurs at a rate of about 0.5-1 case per million of the population per year in Taiwan, similar to the worldwide statistics, with around 20 classic CJD cases reported per year, according to statistics compiled by the health authorities.

Taiwan has been concerned over imports of beef from the United States since a dairy cow in California was confirmed April 24 to be infected with mad cow disease.

The case was the fourth to have been discovered on U.S. soil since 2003, but health officials there were quick to point out that products from the cow's carcass had not entered the human food chain.

(By Nancy Liu)