Published Date: 2002-08-09 23:50:00
Subject: PRO> CJD (new var.) - Canada (SK) ex UK (02)
Archive Number: 20020809.5010
CJD (NEW VAR.) - CANADA (SK) EX UK (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 8 Aug 2002
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Health Canada, Thu 8 Aug 2002 [edited]
First Canadian Case of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)
In April 2002, a suspected case of variant CJD was reported to Health
Canada's CJD Surveillance System. Because of the clinical presentation, age
of the patient and past multiple stays in the United Kingdom (UK), this was
classified as a possible vCJD case. However, the diagnosis of classical CJD
was also considered. As part of the investigation, a full medical history
The following information on this case can be shared: * The patient, a male
under the age of 50, had multiple stays in the UK during the outbreak of
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly know as "mad-cow disease."
* While staying in the UK, the patient ate processed meat products.
Processed meat products made from cows infected with BSE carried a high
risk of transmission of BSE.
* After coming to Canada in the early 1990s, the patient ate very little
beef and had not eaten venison from deer or elk.
* The patient has not donated blood in Canada.
* The patient underwent a medical procedure in Canada.
Upon learning of the patient's procedure, Health Canada immediately advised
the hospital to remove from service the medical devices used during the
procedure, until such time as a diagnosis be confirmed. The hospital
immediately complied with Health Canada's recommendation. Following the
death of the patient, an autopsy was performed and vCJD was confirmed by
Canadian experts. However, because this was the first case of vCJD
diagnosed in Canada, final confirmation was sought from an expert on vCJD
in the UK. This expert confirmed vCJD. The attending physician was notified
and spoke to the family of the patient.
The hospital, together with provincial authorities and Health Canada, has
identified individuals who were exposed to the medical devices before the
diagnosis of vCJD was suspected in that patient. As a precautionary
measure, the hospital has a plan of action in place to advise those
individuals not to donate blood, organs, or tissues. However, if any of
these individuals have donated blood since their procedure, their blood
components that have not been pooled will be retrieved and destroyed. If
any blood components donated by those individuals have been pooled, the
theoretical and remote risk of vCJD transmission does not merit further action.
Although the risk of acquiring variant CJD from the medical devices used on
the patient with the disease is considered to be extremely low, Health
Canada recommended the medical devices be permanently removed from service
now that the diagnosis has been confirmed. This situation does not
represent a threat to those who have been in contact with this person,
since vCJD is not contagious through personal contact. For example, there
is no evidence that vCJD can be spread through touching or kissing a person
with the disease. Similarly, health care workers who have provided usual
care to a patient with vCJD do not have an increased risk of acquiring the
disease from that patient.
Because the disease has a long incubation period, it was expected that a
case of vCJD would be diagnosed in Canada several years after a person
acquired the disease while staying in the UK.
[This report provides more details on the case and risk factors for
infection with the prion responsible for vCJD than contained in the earlier
posting of yesterday. - Mod.MPP]