- One patient had brain surgery in May then died in August from fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Incurable condition can survive standard sterilization
- Up to 13 people in several states may have been exposed to the disease
PUBLISHED: 17:49 EST, 4 September 2013 | UPDATED: 18:27 EST, 4 September 2013
Officials in New Hampshire have raised the horrifying possibility that up to 13 people in multiple states have been exposed to a rare, degenerative and incurable brain disease through surgical equipment.
Authorities at the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester said on Wednesday that they believe one person who had brain surgery in May died of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in August.
As the faulty proteins that cause the fatal disease can survive standard sterilization, officials have notified eight people who had brain surgery in that time and say up to five patients in other states could have been exposed.
Fears: Authorities at the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, have raised concerns that up to 13 people have been exposed to a rare, degenerative and incurable brain disease through surgical equipment
Worries: Dr Joseph Pepe, president of Catholic Medical Center, (right) said that officials are 95 percent certain that the patient who had brain surgery at the facility then died in August had the disease. It could then have been passed on through medical equipment (left)
Authorities in New Hampshire have now quarantined the equipment in question until an autopsy on the original victim is complete. Some of the surgical instruments had been rented.
Dr. Joseph Pepe, president of Catholic Medical Center, said that officials are 95 percent certain that the patient who had brain surgery at the facility then died in August had the disease.
While the idea of this degenerative brain disorder being passed through contaminated equipment is terrifying, the chances of the patients being exposed to the degenerative brain disease are remote.
The disease has only been transmitted this way four times, never in the United States.
Horrifying: The disease is degnerative, rare and incurable. In this photo the screen shows the incidence of CJD on a human brain (indicated with black rings round the white cells)
The disabling condition causes rapidly progressive dementia, behavior changes, memory problems, loss of balance and other impaired coordination.
It affects about one person in every one million people per year worldwide according to the National Institutes of Health. In the U.S there are about 200 cases per year.
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