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From: TSS (
Subject: CJD suspected as cause of Galway woman's death
Date: October 27, 2004 at 7:35 pm PST

CJD suspected as cause of Galway woman's death
Wednesday, 27th October, 2004

The Western Health Board has confirmed that classic CJD and not the much
rarer fatal variant of the disease, vCJD is one of a number of suspected
causes in the death of an elderly Co Galway woman.

However, the family of Mrs Bridget Kelly from Loughrea who died last
week at the age of 84 at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, claim they
were informed by her medical team five days prior to her death that she
had suspected vCJD.

A spokeswoman for the Western Health Board said Portiuncula Hospital was
currently awaiting the test results of Mrs Kelly's post mortem.

She said: "CJD is one of a number of possible/suspected causes of death.
It will be approximately one month before the test results are available."

The spokeswoman said she could not comment any further on the case of an
individual patient or family.

Mr Gabriel Kelly, a son of Mrs Kelly, claims his mother was diagnosed
with suspected vCJD by her medical team at Portiuncula Hospital on
Thursday, October 14.

Mr Kelly said his family was told his mother probably contracted the
disease from a blood transfusion she received in 1968. However, he said
that this did not make sense as the first case of variant CJD was not
reported until 1996.

Although he does not believe his mother had vCJD, Mr Kelly pointed out
that he was not a doctor and would have to wait for the results of the
post-mortem in the next three or four weeks.

"We buried my mother on Friday and over the weekend, there was a huge
furore in the media over the case of suspected vCJD in Dublin," Mr Kelly

"vCJD is supposed to be a notifiable disease, but we do not know of our
mother's case having been notified to anybody and we don't believe it
was. Our question is why wasn't it?."

Classic CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) mainly affects people over the
age of 65 and has been known about since it was first reported in the 1920s.

Symptoms include dementia and movement abnormalities and the average
survival time is five months.

There are up to three cases of the disease a year in Ireland. CJD is one
of a type of rare fatal diseases caused by infectious agents called
prions which attack the brain, killing cells and creating gaps in tissue.

Prion diseases are not infectious in the usual way, for example they are
not spread by airborne droplets like colds and flu or by blood or sexual
contact like HIV.

In 1996, doctors reported a variant of the disease, vCJD which research
suggests is the result of exposure to the agent that causes Bovine
Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle. Variant CJD is a rare
neurological condition that occurs in about two in every million people.
A fatal disease, it mainly affects young people. Symptoms include muscle
twitching, a lack of co-ordination and balance and personality change.
Patients survive between six and twelve months after diagnosis.


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