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Patients Exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Specialized surgical instruments had been previously used on a patient confirmed with Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Published: February 12, 2014

Eighteen patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., since Jan. 18 may have been exposed to Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease, hospital officials have disclosed.

The hospital issued the notification after discovering that specialized instruments used in those 18 patients' cases had also been used during the surgery of a patient who later tested positive for the degenerative brain disorder.

While the instruments had been sterilized in accordance with standard procedures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend an intensive course of disinfection, or even destruction, of neurosurgical equipment used on suspected or confirmed CJD patients. The CDC notes, however, that it has seen no cases in which the disease was transferred between patients via contaminated instruments since 1976.

In September 2013, 13 neurosurgery patients at 2 hospitals in New Hampshire and Massachusetts were notified of an exposure risk under similar circumstances.

David Bernard

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