Exposed to brain disease…Hospital Fun

BOSTON — New Hampshire warned yesterday that eight patients who recently underwent neurosurgery in a Manchester hospital might have been exposed to a rare brain condition similar to mad-cow disease in cattle.

The state health department said the exposure might have been the result of a surgery on a ninth patient, who now is thought to have had a sporadic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a condition similar to mad-cow disease but not linked to beef consumption.

All eight patients have been notified of their potential exposure, officials said, adding that there was no risk to the general public.

In the disease’s sporadic form, it crops up spontaneously without a known cause. There is no known treatment or cure for the fatal condition, which has symptoms including failing memory, personality changes, blindness and sudden jerky movements, the officials said.

“After extensive expert discussion, we could not conclude that there was no risk,” said Dr. Jose Montero, the state’s director of public health.


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