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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. |
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The Department of Health and Senior Services released a report today on an investigation of a suspected cluster of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) associated with the Garden State Racetrack. The report summarizes an evaluation of the medical records of 17 individuals in six states suspected of having the rare, fatal brain disease.
“Today’s report indicates that there is no evidence of an increased incidence of CJD associated with the Garden State Racetrack or anywhere in this state,’’ said Commissioner of Health and Senior Services Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. “The number of cases is well within the range of expected cases for New Jersey and the United States.’’
CJD, which usually causes death within a year, is characterized by a rapidly progressive dementia, muscle twitching and a characteristic electroencephalogram (EEG) pattern. The disease is caused by a unique protein (prion) in the brain.
The report, “An Evaluation of a Suspected Cluster of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in New Jersey,’’ examines the records of 17 deceased individuals from six states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia and Delaware.
Of the 17 cases examined in the report, 11 have a definite or probable diagnosis of sporadic CJD and 3 do not have CJD. Three cases are still under investigation pending receipt of patient records.
Six of the 11 definite or probable sporadic cases were residents of
Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, State Epidemiologist and Senior Assistant Commissioner, was the lead author of the report. “The Department has worked closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
The CDC established the
There are 3 forms of CJD: Sporadic, inherited (or familial), and acquired by infection (which includes variant CJD). Variant CJD was linked to an outbreak of “Mad Cow Disease” (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE) in
“The evidence does not support the existence of an outbreak of CJD among attendees at the Garden State Racetrack, nor does it suggest that case-patients with CJD were exposed to BSE-contaminated beef in the period from 1988 to 1992 at the Garden State Racetrack in New Jersey,’’ the report states.
CJD occurs at an overall rate of approximately one case per million people per year, but at a rate of 4.1 cases per million in individuals age 55 or older. Nationwide, there was an average of 253 CJD cases between 1985 and 2001, according to the report.
An average of seven sporadic CJD deaths have been reported in
There has been no documented increased trend in the annual reported number of sporadic CJD cases in the
New Jersey and about half of the states in the
The key to determining potential cases of CJD in the
The department also will send a letter (prepared by the
The department will continue to review all suspected cases of CJD detected through reporting by health providers, and by reviewing hospital billing data and death certificate data.
The report is available at http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/cjd2004.pdf.
The CDC will be releasing a companion report later today.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360