18 patients have been exposed to a rare brain disease due to an oversight at the hospital
By John Vibes
NORTH CAROLINA (INTELLIHUB) — This week, representatives of Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in North Carolina, announced that 18 neurosurgery patients have been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that is incurable and fatal.
“Today we are reaching out to 18 neurosurgery patients who were exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease over the last three weeks at Forsyth Medical Center,” said Jeff Lindsay, President of Forsyth Medical Center.
“While the CDC categorizes such risks as “very low,” any risk of transmission is simply unacceptable,” said Lindsay. ”On behalf of the entire team, I apologize to the patients and their families for this anxiety. We are committed to providing support to patients and their families.”
CJD has been closely associated with mad cow disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy), however Dr. Jim Lederer said this particular strain is not associated with mad cow disease.
“The patient had sporadic CJD. This is important to note, because it is often incorrectly associated with mad cow disease. It is not,” said Dr. Jim Lederer.
“On January 18, an operation was performed on a patient with symptoms that could have been attributed to CJD. There were reasons to suspect this patient may have CJD. As such, extra precautions to clean equipment should have been taken but it was not,” said Dr. Jim Lederer.
To prevent this disease from being spread an extra step is needed in the sterilization process, and this exposure occurred because the hospital staff forgot to take those precautions.