Five Mass. patients exposed to rare and fatal brain disease

By Gilannie Pangburn

Twitter: @gilanniej05

Thursday afternoon the department of public health announced that five patients have been identified as low risk for exposure to Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease”. This comes after instruments used during surgical procedures performed at Cape Cod hospital were potentially contaminated specialized instrument from Medtronic, Inc.

CJD is a rare and fatal disease that affects the nervous system and causes deterioration of the brain; it was first identified in New Hampshire after the device used on a patient was suspected to have CJD.

The Department of public health in MA worked closely with NH officials as well as Medtronic, Inc to determine the potential exposure in MA. It was determined that the exposure was limited to five patients who received procedures between June and August using the same device.

The five patients were identified and notified, there risk is extremely low. All of the patients underwent spinal surgery and not brain surgery. CJD does not pose a threat to hospital staff or the public.

ABC 6 News will bring you the latest as information becomes available.

© WLNE-TV 2013/ MA dept. of public health