- 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
- 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.
- c. 2001 The Japan Times. All rights reserved. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20011110b5.htm