IDPH: CJD cases rare, but do occur in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

IDPH: CJD cases rare, but do occur in Iowa

Posted:

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health says it sees about 3 cases of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) a year.

Relatives of a Charles City man told KWWL Thomas Squier, 60, died of sporadic CJD at his home Wednesday.  Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. Typically, onset of symptoms occurs at about age 60.

"This is a genetic disease, it is not a virus, it is not a bacteria. Sporadic CJD has nothing to do with the Mad Cow disease that surfaced in England, it's just a different prion disease," said IDPH Medical Director Patricia Quinslik.

Quinslik says the department can't comment on specific cases or people but tells KWWL people who get sporadic CJD seem to have a gene that codes this prion protein that naturally develops into an abnormal form later in life which leads to the disease. The IDPH says right now there are no risks or threats to the general public.

"Anyone diagnosed with sporadic CJD can not spread the disease.  The only way to spread it would be through some sort of transplant to another human.  New health regulations in the United States state prevent doctors from transplanting any organs from someone diagnosed with sporadic CJD," Quinslik said.

Quinslik also adds "All the cases of CJD ever reported in Iowa have been the "Classic" form, not the "Variant" form which is related to Mad Cow.  We've never had a case of Variant CJD in Iowa.  There have only been 3 cases of variant CJD in the US, but those people contracted the disease overseas."

CJD is referred to as the human form of mad cow.  However, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Classic CJD is not related to "mad cow" disease. "Variant CJD", another prion disease is related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease.  Squier's family told KWWL doctors gave Thomas a 90% diagnosis of Classic CJD.

The IDPH says all the cases of CJD ever reported in Iowa have been the "Classic" form, not the "Variant" form which is related to Mad Cow. 

"We've never had a case of Variant CJD in Iowa.  There have only been 3 cases of variant CJD in the US, but those people contracted the disease overseas," Quinslik said. 

KWWL has taken a few calls and emails from local cattle farmers concerned about the TV station showing video of animals infected with mad cow disease.

"The only reason we used the video on Thursday was to show people how CJD symptoms in humans mirror those of mad cow disease in animals.  There was video available of humans suffering from the disease, but we did not air that video out of respect for the family," said KWWL News Director JJ Murray.

KWWL chose to run the story because we received numerous calls and e-mails from people in Floyd County who were worried about mad cow disease rumors spreading through the community.

"We are not trying to create a panic by any means.  As far as we know, there is no threat to humans, there is no proof this person contracted the disease by any other means than a naturally developing disease.  Our goal is to simply educate the public about this disease," Murray said.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says there is no threat of mad cow disease in Iowa or the United States.

"In this country we feed our cows vegetable protein, not animal protein.  Therefore mad cow can not spread from cow to cow in this country as it did in Europe and thus can not get into the human food chain," said Quinslik.

Here are a few links with more details about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Wellsphere.com

Online Producer: JJ Murray

Powered by Frankly