CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE: First case found in Italy

October 22, 2002 TB & Outbreaks Week

A research letter in the Lancet describes the first case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in Italy.

Up to May 2002 there have been 126 cases of vCJD reported in the U.K., France, and Ireland. The woman, aged 25 years was admitted to hospital last November. She had never traveled to any of these countries, and had not consumed bovine brain in the past 20 years, donated blood, or undergone a surgical procedure. After analysis the investigators, led by Vincenzo La Bella from Palermo, Italy, reported how the characteristics of the woman's vCJD diagnosis were identical to those previously reported in other countries.

"This woman is the first case of vCJD in Italy, a country where, as of May, 2002, only 64 indigenous and 2 British-imported cases of BSE have been identified," said La Bella. "Thus, continuous support for surveillance programs of TSEs in human beings and animals is needed in Italy."

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