Unknown brain disease worries Canadian experts

Canadian health officials are concerned about a mysterious neurological disease first discovered in the Acadian Peninsula, northeast New Brunswick and the Moncton area. Since its first discovery in 2015, the pathology, with symptoms similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, has already killed at least 6 people. After the first registered case in 2015, 11 and 24 additional cases were identified in 2019 and 2020, respectively. According to Radio Canada, six more people have been affected by the disease since early 2021.

Those affected are currently between 18 and 85 years old and in fact there are just as many men as women. According to the information currently available, the mysterious disease causes people with dementia, speech disorders, judgment, and a sense of balance. At first, health professionals thought the patients had a rare prion disease, also known as subacute communicable spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), but eventually, after doing multiple analyzes, realized that this hypothesis was untenable.

More questions than answers

According to Steve Ellis, son of a patient, his father had no neurological problems in his sixties prior to the diagnosis of the new pathology in June 2019. “He’s had hallucinations, delusions, aggressive behavior, weight loss and almost childish behavior,” said Elis, who believes the government should communicate a lot more about the disease.

“I can understand that the government may not want to give too much information in order not to scare but also not to scare you,” he continued. New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health says he has “more questions than answers” about the pathology, he told CBC News.

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