Second probable case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob hits Italy: report

February 8, 2002 Agence France Presse
A second probable case of the human form of mad cow disease has been discovered in a man hospitalised in the city of Palermo in Sicily, an Italian newspaper reported Friday.

The 56-year-old patient was strongly suspected of having variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), according to Luigi Pastore, the head of neurology at Palermo's hospital, quoted in the Italian daily La Sicilia. Doctors at Milan's San Raffaele hospital who also examined the patient reached the same conclusions, Pastore said.

"The patient has trouble walking, memory loss, speaking problems. For us it's the human form of mad cow disease but we must wait for the results of all analyses and the opinion of the health institute," he said.

Italy's first identified victim of vCJD since a national health register was set up in 1993, was announced Tuesday as a young Sicilian woman by the Italian health ministry.

"We cannot exclude the appearance of other cases, but always linked to the past," said Italy's health minister, Girolamo Sirchia.

"Talk of an epidemic is completely irrelevant," he added.

The first case of vCJD was confirmed in Britain in 1996, where more than 100 people have since died of it.

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