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Mad Cow Disease Take Illinois
Teacher's Life
School Cancels Thursday Classes

By Jeff Nelson
The Courier - Logan County
Classes at Chester-East Lincoln School will be cancelled Thursday following the death late Saturday of learning disabilities teacher Connie Albert from a human form of mad cow disease.
A C-EL school board meeting scheduled for this evening will go on as planned.
Albert began showing symptoms of the disease about three months ago when her vision began to be impaired, according to her brother, Bob Thomas, who is also Logan County coroner.
Thomas said spinal fluid sent to a lab in Columbus, Ohio, confirmed the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease after doctors, first at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital and then Memorial Medical Center in Springfield were stymied.
Thomas said a doctor at Memorial finally began to suspect mad cow disease and called in an associate from another hospital who had a patient with the disease.
The disease is extremely rare in the U.S., literally a one in a million chance of contracting the disease. Thomas said the only time his sister has been out of the country was a trip to Canada about three years ago.
Also, the disease has a very long incubation period, up to 40 years.
Albert was 57 at the time of her death.


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