Confirmed Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (variant CJD) Case in Texas
Updated: October 7, 2014
CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have completed the investigation of the recently reported fourth vCJD case in the United States. It confirmed that the case was in a US citizen born outside the Americas and indicated that the patient's exposure to the BSE/vCJD agent most likely occurred before he moved to the United States; the patient had resided in Kuwait, Russia and Lebanon. The completed investigation did not support the patient's having had extended travel to European countries, including the United Kingdom, or travel to Saudi Arabia. The specific overseas country where this patientís infection occurred is less clear largely because the investigation did not definitely link him to a country where other known vCJD cases likely had been infected.
Original Announcement (June 2, 2014)
Laboratory tests have confirmed a diagnosis of variant CJD (a fatal brain disorder) in a patient who recently died in Texas. The confirmation was made when laboratory results from an autopsy of the patientís brain tested positive for variant CJD.
First described in 1996 in the United Kingdom, variant CJD is a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder in humans. It is believed to be caused by consumption of products from cows with the disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow" disease).
Worldwide, more than 220 variant CJD patients have been reported, with a majority of them in the United Kingdom (177 cases) and France (27 cases). This case is the fourth to be reported in the United States. In each of the three previous cases, infection likely occurred outside the United States, including the United Kingdom (2 cases) and Saudi Arabia (1 case). The history of this fourth patient, including extensive travel to Europe and the Middle East, supports the likelihood that infection occurred outside the United States.
CDC assisted the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)'s investigation of this case and will continue to help confirm further details of the patient's history, including the potential source of infection.
A classic form of CJD, which is not caused by the BSE agent, occurs worldwide, including in the United States. Annually, for every 1 million people in the United States, 1 to 2 develops classic CJD. More information about variant CJD, including how it differs from classic CJD, is available in the Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Fact Sheet.