CJD Following up: Patients never contracted brain disorder UW Hospital patients
Posted Jan 17 2010 10:46am
Following up: Patients never contracted brain disorder Posted: Sunday, January 17, 2010 6:55 am
In July, 53 UW Hospital patients were notified that they faced a tiny risk of contracting a deadly brain disorder because they were operated on with potentially contaminated surgical instruments.
The patients were told to contact the hospital if they began experiencing any symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, including difficulty walking, vision problems and memory loss. As of mid-December, none had reported any of the warning signs, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said.
She’s not surprised. Brunette said the always-fatal disease can take up to 20 years to manifest, and the notified patients faced an “infinitesimal” chance of contracting it.
The hospital contacted the patients after a woman who had undergone brain surgery for a tumor was later discovered to have the disease after her condition continued to deteriorate. Before the diagnosis, the 53 patients were operated on using the instruments, which had been sterilized but hadn’t undergone the enhanced sterilization recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for CJD-exposed instruments.
UW Hospital has offered free treatment if any of the patients contract the disease, although Brunette said chances of that happening are “very slim.”
Transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to a chimpanzee by electrodes contaminated during neurosurgery.
Gibbs CJ Jr, Asher DM, Kobrine A, Amyx HL, Sulima MP, Gajdusek DC.
Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.
Stereotactic multicontact electrodes used to probe the cerebral cortex of a middle aged woman with progressive dementia were previously implicated in the accidental transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) to two younger patients. The diagnoses of CJD have been confirmed for all three cases. More than two years after their last use in humans, after three cleanings and repeated sterilisation in ethanol and formaldehyde vapour, the electrodes were implanted in the cortex of a chimpanzee. Eighteen months later the animal became ill with CJD. This finding serves to re-emphasise the potential danger posed by reuse of instruments contaminated with the agents of spongiform encephalopathies, even after scrupulous attempts to clean them.