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A new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease CJD (vCJD) has been reported from United Kingdom, France, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the United States as per The Centers for Disease// Control and Prevention A total of 153 cases of vCJD had been reported in the world till December 2003. Almost all the 153 vCJD patients had multiple-year exposures in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996 during the occurrence of a large UK outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease) among cattle.

vCJD has predominantly affected younger people who had presented with with prominent psychiatric or sensory symptoms at the time of clinical presentation and delayed onset of neurologic abnormalities, including ataxia within weeks or months, dementia and myoclonus late in the illness, a duration of illness of at least 6 months, and a diffusely abnormal non-diagnostic electroencephalogram.

The vCJD was confirmed by examination of brain tissue obtained by biopsy or at autopsy, but a "probable case" of vCJD could be diagnosed on the basis of clinical criteria.

According to CDC there has never been a case of vCJD transmitted through direct contact of one person with another. However, a case of probable transmission of vCJD through transfusion of blood components from an asymptomatic donor who subsequently developed the disease has been reported. It is believed that the persons who have developed vCJD became infected through their consumption of cattle products contaminated with the agent of BSE. There is no known treatment of vCJD and it is invariably fatal.

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