Any news item headlined Deaths probed for rare brain disease is bad; news items with that headline from towns a short drive away are worse; and news items with that headline in a town a short drive away, when that “rare brain disease” can be related to mad cow disease, are the worst. Color me disturbed.
A rare degenerative brain disorder was suspected in the deaths of four people in northeastern Indiana during the past five months, health officials said.
Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan said the deaths were suspected to have been caused by Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. After the third death, McMahan contacted the state health department and asked that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention be notified.
That would probably be because CDC figures suggest the Fort Wayne area “might expect one death from the disease a year,” making four rather alarming.
Testing of brain tissue from two victims was planned as that is considered the only definitive way to determine whether a person had CJD. Health officials said the four deaths appear to be from classic CJD and not related to mad cow disease, which is linked to the rare variant CJD found in humans.
…State epidemiologist Bob Teclaw said he was not drawing any conclusions from the deaths in northeastern Indiana. At this point, “we’re in the wait-and-see mode,” he said.
Good news. When there’s an outbreak of a rare and incurable disease nearby, what I like to hear is “wait and see.”
That’s actually just a bit of snark. I’m glad they’re paying attention and trying to sort it out, and I hope quite fervently that whatever Teclaw and pals at the Indiana Statehouse find out is the same information that we eventually get. Ahem.
[Thanks for the heads-up to Steph Mineart, one of whose readers passes on some more information about the lack of agricultural/DNR oversight in Indiana on canned deer hunting, which has resulted in blind eyes being turned to the mad cow-related Chronic Wasting Disease.]