Tennessee, USA: A 32-year-old Tennessee man has been diagnosed with a rare human form of mad cow disease, according to a case report. The rare human form of mad cow disease, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), impacts 1 in 1 million people.
Everything was normal in Tony Gibson’s life until 1 year ago, when he started experiencing the symptoms of CJD, he became very forgetful and would get lost in stores and even his own home, according to his wife Danielle Gibson.
As his condition progressed, his wife took him to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with the CJD following multiple tests. He now requires constant nursing care.
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CJD is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by abnormal folding of brain proteins called prions, which can happen unexpectedly, according to National Institutes of Health. It causes rapid mental deterioration, where the symptoms include impaired thinking, personality changes, and sudden, jerky movements. It cannot be transmitted through sneezing, coughing, touching or sexual contact. Till now, there is no known treatment to slow down CJD and most patients die within a year of its diagnosis. It can develop in three ways:
- sporadically with no reason;
- by inheritance through family genes, and
- contamination from/exposure to infected tissue.
Mad cow disease is associated with CJD because of an outbreak of mad cow in the late 1900s.
When abnormal prions affect cattle, they get bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is commonly known as mad cow disease. Eating contaminated meat from cattle that have mad cow disease can cause variant CJD (vCJD), though it’s very rare.
The disease affects fewer than 500 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most cases of the disease don’t show any source of transmission, and CJD can’t be spread through any form of contact. Between 5 and 15 percent of those afflicted develop the condition because of inherited genetic mutations. Less than one percent of those diagnosed falls ill because of brain and nervous system exposure from sources including contaminated meat or medical operation.