- Hello, Jeff - We keep hearing how rare CJD is. However,
we also keep hearing about it in relation to eating infected meat and it
does appear that it is not as rare as the CDC would like us to believe.
- Another interesting point is the fact that many CJD cases,
whether it is 'classic', 'sporadic', 'new variant' etc. appears to be found
- Something is terribly amiss and the government, in fact,
governments around the world, do not want us to know about it. It's well
past time to shed light on this 'RARE'(?) disease and its cause.
- Patricia Doyle
- County Deaths Raise Mad Cow Queries
- Relatives Suspect Link Between Infected
- Beef And kindred Human Disease
- By Randi Rossmann
- The Press Democrat
- Four years after her husband died of a rare ailment resembling
mad cow disease, Evalyn Mutin still wonders if he got it from eating beef.
- At least four Sonoma County residents, including Jack
Mutin, have died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease since 1990.
- The brain-wasting disease is always fatal and experts
don't know its cause, leaving people like Evalyn Mutin to struggle with
- Unlike its cousin, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob, which is
caused by eating meat from animals infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy,
or mad cow disease, most researchers say classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob can't
be contracted from eating beef.
- But some say more research is needed to determine if
there is a link and whether the human variant of mad cow disease is more
common than once believed.
- "They look a lot alike. They have almost the same
name and symptoms are similar," acknowledged Dr. Leigh Hall of the
Sonoma County Public Health Department.
- But they are distinctly different under the microscope.
Victims also differ as the classic strain typically strikes people in their
60s, while most victims of the variant strain have been in their 20s.
- Mutin, a retired mechanic and Larkfield volunteer firefighter,
was 72. His wife said he loved beef and had visited Canada, where mad cow
was first found in a cow imported from Great Britain in the 1990s.
- Another infected cow was found in the spring in Alberta,
and the cow discovered in Washington in December had been imported from
- "There's the beef again," Evalyn Mutin said.
- But her husband's death was ruled a case of classic CJD.
So were the deaths of three other county residents: LaVerne Solkov, 62,
of Santa Rosa in 1990; Bob Shaw, 61, of Penngrove in 1993; and Rae Lee
Thompson, 62, of Santa Rosa in 1998.
- To one degree or another, all four families suspect their
loved ones had variant CJD or that beef played a role in their deaths.
- Solkov's husband said she must have gotten it during
a trip to England. Thompson's obituary said she traveled to Britain, and
family members said they believed that must be where she was infected.
- In Penngrove, Jan Shaw spent years educating herself
about the disease after her husband's death. "I've pursued this so
much," she said. "But I have no conclusion. They just don't know."
- Dr. Norick Janian, a Santa Rosa neurologist, has handled
several cases and doesn't think any of his patients have gotten classic
CJD from eating beef.
- But, he said, "Who knows?"
- At Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa, neurologist
Allan Bernstein said there isn't enough information to definitively rule
out beef as a cause.
- "We don't know enough," he said. "I'm
not so sure you can make that absolute statement."
- There are no known cases of the variety of CJD caused
by mad cow in Sonoma County, and there's been only one in the nation --
a Florida woman who had lived in Great Britain, doctors said.
- About 150 people worldwide are known to have died from
the disease since 1996, most of them having had connections to Great Britain,
where the first major outbreak was identified.
- Classic CJD was identified about 80 years ago. It infects
250 to 300 people nationwide annually, about one in a million.
- In California, there were 293 cases from 1990 to 2000.
On average, there is less than than one annually in Sonoma County.
- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
in Atlanta sponsors programs, including one in California, to increase
surveillance of the disease. Goals include encouraging more autopsies of
victims in an effort to learn more and make sure no variant CJD cases are
- Only a brain autopsy can distinguish between the two
types of CJD. And in California, only about 22 percent of known CJD victims
- The Sonoma County coroner has a policy against conducting
such autopsies because of the possibility that a medical examiner will
become infected. Bernstein said he understands the coroner's concern, noting
surgeons have gotten the disease from working on infected brains.
- The first signs of CJD are often small.
- Jack Mutin had trouble with his memory; so did Bob Shaw.
- Subsequent symptoms include loss of balance and difficulty
walking. Toward the end, patients are unable to talk or swallow and usually
are in a coma by the time they die.
- "It's one of the nastiest (diseases) you can get,"
Janian said. "Some just disappear within a few weeks. Mostly it takes
months or a year."
- When Shaw became sick, doctors couldn't diagnose what
was wrong. One even suggested his symptoms were in his head.
- Ironically, they were, Jan Shaw said. His brain was being
riddled with holes.
- Shaw had led an active life. He and his wife had three
daughters. They ran a flooring shop in Penngrove. Both were avid bike riders
and he was a volunteer firefighter for 24 years.
- In March 1993, he began having trouble with numbers.
He couldn't write his ZIP code. He couldn't add.
- "We didn't have a clue. He saw so many doctors,"
- First, doctors thought he'd had a stroke. Then they suggested
Parkinson's disease or a brain tumor. Finally, a psychiatrist sent him
to a neurologist, and further tests resulted in the deadly diagnosis.
- "We were sent home. I was told to be careful because
they don't know how it's transmitted," she said. "It's bad stuff."
- He died in June. It had been about four months.
- A year later, she noticed a ram in their small herd of
sheep staggering. She'd seen the same stagger in her husband and feared
the ram might have scrapie, the ovine version of mad cow. An analysis at
UC Davis indicated a 50 percent chance the ram had the disease, she said.
- Shaw said it added to her suspicions about mad cow's
role in her husband's death, but "it's a total mystery."
- You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=emergingdiseases
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health