First Dutch vCJD patient dies
3 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — The woman diagnosed as the first person in the Netherlands with the disease Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) has died, the Mesos Medisch Centrum in Utrecht said on Tuesday.
3 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — The woman diagnosed as the first person in the Netherlands with the disease Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) has died, the Mesos Medisch Centrum in Utrecht said on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Utrecht woman was admitted to hospital at the start of April and she was diagnosed on 21 April with vCJD, the human form of Mad Cow Disease.
Experts believe the woman could have contracted the disease 20 years ago by eating infected beef. The disease can also be transferred by transplants of nerve tissue, but this has been ruled out in the Utrecht woman's case.
The disease vCJD is characterised by the sponge-like degeneration of the victim's brain, but it is also difficult to diagnose. It can take years for a diagnosis to be made.
A patient first develops psychiatric symptoms such as feelings of angst and hallucinations, followed by neurological problems such as balance and movement disorders. The patient eventually suffers mental collapse.
The chance that the human from of Mad Cow Disease would appear in the Netherlands was not large because relatively few cattle (77) have been detected here with the illness.
However, doctors have not ruled out the possibility that more people will be diagnosed with vCJD.
The illness has previously appeared in Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and the US. There have been 170 deaths, 155 of them in Britain.
Several distinctions are made between vCJD, which was first reported in 1996, and the more common sporadic CJD.
One widely-supported view is that vCJD results from the transmission of infection from Mad Cow Disease (BSE) in cattle to humans via infected food.
The average age of onset of vCJD is 27 compared to middle age or older for sporadic CJD, a factor that may support the food contamination theory.
Sporadic CJD is the most common form of CJD, occurring on average in one in every million people and is found all over the world.
Although the causes of sporadic CJD are uncertain, one theory suggests that the normal prion protein in the brain undergoes a spontaneous change to the abnormal form, resulting in disease.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news