According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder.
According to WCVB, the patients received surgery using a potentially contaminated specialized instrument. The five patients have a low risk of contracting CJD as they receive spinal surgery, not brain surgery.
The Cape Cod Hospital patients received their procedures between June and August, reported WCVB.
The possibly contaminated instrument was first identified at risk at Catholic Medical Center in New Hampshire. As many as nine patients may have been exposed to the instrument in New Hampshire, according to Bedford NH Patch.
There are three forms of CJD, according to NINDS. In this case, the patients may have been exposed to the sporadic form.
- In sporadic CJD, the disease appears even though the person has no known risk factors for the disease. This is by far the
most common type of CJD and accounts for at least 85 percent of cases.
- In hereditary CJD, the person has a family history of the disease and/or tests positive for a genetic mutation associated
with CJD. About 5 to 10 percent of cases of CJD in the United States are hereditary.
- In acquired CJD, the disease is transmitted by exposure to brain or nervous system tissue, usually through certain medical procedures. There is no evidence that CJD is contagious through casual contact with a CJD patient. Since CJD was first described in 1920, fewer than 1 percent of cases have been acquired CJD.