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From: TSS ()
Subject: Man's illness may be related to mad cow TORONTO -- A patient at St. Michael's Hospital
Date: July 29, 2005 at 1:21 pm PST

Man's illness may be related to mad cow

KEVIN CONNOR, Special to The Free Press 2005-07-28 01:34:38



TORONTO -- A patient at St. Michael's Hospital has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease -- a variant of which is the human form of mad cow disease -- family members say.

But the Ministry of Health has yet to be notified of what could be the province's first case of human mad cow.

"The ministry is unaware of a human case of mad cow in Ontario. Nothing has been reported to the ministry," spokesperson John Leatherby said.

C-JD has an incubation period of 10 to 15 years and in rare cases can, for unknown reasons, occur naturally. There is no known cure.

The form of C-JD not related to mad cow is a disease that affects the central nervous system and kills about 30 Canadians annually, about one in one million people.

"There is a variant which is associated with mad cow that occurs spontaneously and usually occurs in the elderly," said Dr. Don Lowe, the chief microbiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital.

To date, there has been only one confirmed fatal case of mad cow disease in Canada.

For a 100-per-cent positive diagnosis, a patient's brain must be examined after death.

Even if a patient is suspected of having a communicable disease such as C-JD, by law it must be reported, Lowe said.

Health officials at St. Michael's refused to discuss the case because of patient confidentiality rules.

John Erb, 72, a senior cleric in the Anglican Church of Canada, got sick in May and was admitted to St. Michael's in early July. His son Nicholas says he can't believe how his father's health has deteriorated.

"We think he is conscious, but is not responding verbally," he said.

John Erb was executive director of Toronto's Anglican Foundation, which supports special church projects. Before that, he was rector of the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Toronto for 16 years.

Copyright © The London Free Press


http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2005/07/28/1150331-sun.html


TSS



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