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From: TSS (216-119-128-26.ipset8.wt.net)
Subject: Creutzfeldt-Jakob scare hits Australia hospital contacting 1,056 people who have undergone brain or spinal surgery
Date: September 13, 2004 at 6:40 am PST

Creutzfeldt-Jakob scare hits Australia hospital

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — One of Australia's biggest hospitals was on high alert Monday over fears a deadly brain disease suffered by one of its patients may have been transmitted to others via surgical instruments.

Royal Melbourne Hospital in the southern state of Victoria is contacting 1,056 people who have undergone brain or spinal surgery in the past 18 months after a patient died earlier this year of the rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD.

State health authorities said in a statement there was an "extremely remote" risk that the disease could be spread by surgical equipment. The hospital stressed that the disease was not the type of CJD commonly referred to as the human version of mad cow disease.

"This is a rare disease and very little is known about it or its causes," said Prof. Andrew Kaye, the hospital's director of neurosurgery. "What we do know is that it affects about one person in a million, in most cases arising as a chance event inside the brain and cannot be caught."

The patient, who had surgery twice in 2003, died earlier this year, but the hospital said the diagnosis of CJD was only confirmed last week.

As well as offering health checks to the surgical patients, the hospital also was replacing all 15,000 of its neurosurgical instruments and sterilizing its entire stock of 300,000 surgical implements to higher standards than usual.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1095081771096_90490971?hub=Health

TSS




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