Weekly Current Affairs

Concern over incidence of mad cow disease in A.P. [Health]

  • Three patients suffering from Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease (CJD), a rare and fatal degenerative brain disorder, have been admitted to the Department of Neurology in the Government General Hospital in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The high incidence of the CJD, termed as mad cow disease, has caused a great deal of concern. At least six cases have been reported in the last one year.
  • The disease, characterised by rapidly progressive dementia, with an incidence rate of 1 in 1.5 million, was first discovered by Prusiner, who later won a Nobel Prize.
  • Symptoms such as depression, anxiety, incoherent talk and unwieldy gait, known in medical parlance as myoclonic jerks are seen.
  • Occurrences of the CJD could be sporadic, inherited, or infectious. The alarming trend is there is an increase in the sporadic disease. It can also be transmitted from person to person like the HIV.
  • The first suspected human transmission of the disease was reported in 1974 when the rapidly progressive disease was diagnosed in a woman 18 months after she received a corneal transplant.
  • Variant CJD (vCJD) is caused by eating contaminated beef products.