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From: TSS ()
Subject: Final CJD test results in Woman died from classic form of brain disease IDAHO
Date: February 1, 2006 at 6:52 am PST

Final CJD test results in Woman died from Scjd
Wed Feb 1, 2006 09:09

Final CJD test results in
Woman died from classic form of brain disease
By Sandy Miller
Times-News writer

TWIN FALLS -- Final test results on brain tissue have confirmed another Idaho woman died from the classic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

"Test results showed it was not the variant form of CJD," said Tom Shanahan, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, on Tuesday. The variant form of CJD is caused by eating meat from a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease.

Since January 2005, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has received nine reports of people -- seven women and two men -- diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease -- or CJD -- a fatal brain-wasting disease carried by prions, an abnormal form of protein in the bloodstream. Prions cause folding of normal protein in the brain, leading to brain damage. Symptoms include dementia and other neurological signs. Its victims usually die within four or five months after onset of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cases included four women from Twin Falls County, a woman from Minidoka County, a woman from Benewah County in northern Idaho, a woman from Bear Lake County in the southern corner of Idaho on the Utah border, a man from Elmore County and a man from Caribou County in southeastern Idaho.

Of the nine people in Idaho who have died, five had autopsies and their brain tissue was sent to the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University.

Of those five, three women -- two women from Twin Falls County and the woman from Benewah County -- tested positive for a prion disease, and final results on all three of them have now shown they died of classic CJD and not the variant form.

Two people, including the Elmore County man and a Twin Falls woman, tested negative for a prion disease.

Autopsies were not performed on the other four suspected CJD victims. However, a CDC neurologist has reviewed their medical records, Shanahan said.

The number of cases is highly unusual. Normally, there is one case of CJD per million people a year. Between 1984 and 2004, Idaho averaged 1.2 cases a year, Shanahan said. He said there was one year during that period when Idaho had three cases.

Because of their ages -- all of the victims except one were over the age of 60 -- health officials suspected they died of classic CJD and not the variant. However, the only way to confirm CJD is by testing brain tissue, according to the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center.

Times-News writer Sandy Miller can be reached at 735-3264 or by e-mail at

Story published at on Wednesday, February 01, 2006


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