September 20, 2013
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Catholic Medical Center (CMC), and the Manchester Health Department (MHD) announce that the test results on a patient who was treated at CMC and who was believed to have had Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) have come back positive from the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center. The test results were reported to DHHS and CMC earlier today.
Earlier this month, CMC notified 8 neurosurgery patients who may have been exposed to CJD through neurosurgical equipment because the prion that causes sporadic CJD is not eradicated by the standard sterilization process mandated at hospitals. Five other patients in Massachusetts and Connecticut were also potentially exposed. The general public and any other patients at CMC and their employees are not at any risk.
CJD is a rare and fatal disease that affects the nervous system and causes deterioration of the brain. It affects about one in a million people each year worldwide. In the United States, only about 200 people are diagnosed with CJD each year.
"Though we are not surprised by the test results,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “we are saddened by the toll this disease takes on families and our sympathies go out to all those affected.”
"Our focus and concern continues to be with the patients who may have been exposed to CJD,” said Dr. Joseph Pepe, M.D., President & CEO of CMC. This afternoon we have reached out to our 8 patients to let them know about the autopsy results. We let them know we will continue to help and support them and to monitor their health going forward even though the risk is extremely low that any of these patients was infected.”
For more information about CJD, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/cjd/, the World Health Organization at www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs180/en/, or the NH Department of Health and Human Services at www.dhhs.nh.gov. For concerns or questions, contact the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496, or Catholic Medical Center, Office of Infection Control at 603-663-6374.