Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

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Novant Health d/b/a Forsyth Medical Center recently disclosed that 18 patients were potentially exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.  Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is characterized by rapidly progressive dementia.  Initially, patients experience problems with muscle coordination, personality changes, and impaired vision.  Patients may also experience insomnia, depression, or unusual sensations.  As the illness advances, mental impairment becomes severe.  Patients develop myoclonus, which is an involuntary jerking of the muscles.  They may go blind.  Patients eventually lose the ability to move and speak and eventually enter into a coma.  Pneumonia and other infections often occur and can lead to death.

There are several known variants of CJD.  These variants differ somewhat in the symptoms and course of the disease.  One variant of the disease known as the “new” variant, which has been described in Great Britain and France, begins primarily with psychiatric symptoms, affects younger people individuals than other types of CJD, and has a longer than usual duration from onset of symptoms to death.  Another variant, called the penencephalopathic form, occurs primarily in Japan and has a relatively long course often lasting several years.

Some symptoms of CJD can be similar to symptoms of other progressive neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease.  However, CJD causes unique changes in brain tissue which can be seen at autopsy.  It also tends to cause more rapid deterioration of a person’s abilities than Alzheimer’s disease or most other types of dementia.

If you have potentially been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, contact the Law Office of Kevin J. Williams, PLLC, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at (336)793-8459 to discuss your options.  You may also use the contact form to send an e-mail.

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Attorney Kevin J. Williams at his desk in his Greensboro North Carolina office.
Attorney Kevin J. Williams at his desk in his Greensboro North Carolina office.

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