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CJD cluster.

A cluster of 17 suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease deaths associated with a common venue in New Jersey were initially believed to be caused by meat contaminated with the agent that causes mad cow disease, but an investigation revealed the cases were not linked to a common source of infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 11 cases were most likely the result of a classic form of CJD and 3 were from causes unrelated to either classic CJD or the CJD variant associated with mad cow disease.

Three other cases remain under investigation. The number of cases is not unusual given the annual CJD rate, the number of visitors to the suspected venue, and the 9-year time period over which the deaths occurred, the CDC concluded (MMWR 53[18]:392-96, 2004).

Nonetheless, the findings underscore the need for brain autopsies of any patient with suspected or diagnosed CJD to improve understanding of the normal occurrence of sporadic CJD and facilitate earlier recognition of the mad cow disease variant of CJD.
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Author:Worcester, Sharon
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 15, 2004
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