23.7.2013 No pre-existing suspicion that the individaul had CJD in the recent Beaumont Hospital case

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The NAI notes the Minister of Health James Reilly's statement that there had been no suspicion of CJD in the patient operated on in Beaumont Hospital, leading to the risk that the equipment used to operate on this individual had become infected with CJD.
The individual was being operated on for another reason and it was only after some tissue was examined as a result of this operation that the pre-existing CJD was discovered.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a rare neurological disease that causes brain damage. It belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion disease. It is fatal and there is no known cure. There are a number of types of CJD. Sporadic CJD, which is the case identified at Beaumont Hospital, is the most common form. Its cause is not clear, but is believed to be due to prion protein changes in the brain. The less common variant CJD (vCJD) is caused by eating meat infected with BSE (sometimes called 'mad cow' disease). Older people, usually over 40-50, tend to get sporadic CJD, whereas vCJD tends to develop in people in their 20s.
The NAI is concerned that up to 20 patients must endure anxiety over whether they may have been infected through the surgical instruments used on the patient concerned ,however small the risk. The risk does appear to be minimal, there are no known cases of CJD transmission in a 30 year period.
While the NAI is reassured that there appears to be no evidence of omission in terms of procedures, all steps possible should be taken to support these individuals and their families and provide further information in this case.

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