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Univ of Wisconsin tells 53 patients they are at risk for CJD

Posted Jul 24 2009 10:05pm
The Wisconsin State Journal reports today that the University of Wisconsin Hospital informed 53 patients that they face an “extremely low” risk of having contracting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) from surgical instruments used on a woman who died of CJD on Tuesday. The woman had been operated upon on June 11 to remove a benign brain tumor which was thought to be causing her problems with walking, vision, and memory. In retrospect, these symptoms seem to have been related to CJD. Although the instruments went through normal sterilization procedures between cases, destruction of the prion agent responsible for CJD requires more stringent cleaning procedures. “This is not mad cow disease,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar (pictured), a specialist in infectious diseases who oversees infection control at the hospital. “(People) need not be concerned about that relationship.” Despite her statement, Dr. Safdar admits that conclusive results ruling out "mad cow disease" (variant CJD) have not yet been received from the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center. To be frank, regardless of what Dr. Safdar says is being done to sterilize the surgical instruments, if I personally were undergoing surgery at the University of Wisconsin I would request that the instruments used on the CJD patient not be used in my procedure.
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