Japan CJD Cases Hit 1,078 -
CJD Watch Gets Boosted

A health ministry committee on the fatal brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease plans to assign doctors specializing in the disease to all 47 prefectures to bolster the government surveillance system, now that there are 1,078 sufferers of the malady in its various forms nationwide.
The decision, which will assign more than one such doctor per prefecture, was made in the wake of the discovery in September of Japan's first case of mad cow disease.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry aims to establish a system to discover and take immediate measures in case of outbreaks of new variant CJD, which is linked to mad cow disease, ministry officials said.
The surveillance system includes counseling on the disease for medical staff and enforcement of early reports on suspected cases of nvCJD, as well as assignment of the doctors.
If a case is found, the ministry will try to specify the cause of infection by investigating the patient's diet and travel record to see if the person had visited a country with mad cow disease, and will discard any blood the patient donated.
The ministry will also consider sending doctors to medical institutions to examine each reported case in order to determine whether the patient is infected with new variant CJD, iatrogenic CJD caused by inadvertent exposure to the disease in medical procedures, such as transplant of infected dura mater, or sporadic CJD, whose causes are unknown.
At the committee's meeting Wednesday, 49 cases of CJD other than nvCJD discovered during the year up to March were reported, bringing the number of patients with sporadic, iatrogenic or hereditary CJD in Japan to 1,078, the ministry said. Of the 1,078, 76 have been confirmed as infected dura mater.
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