by Staff Reporter
THE medical director of Son Dureta hospital, neurologist Bernat Sureda, has denied that the death of a patient with symptoms of Creutzfeld-Jacob disease was related to mad cow disease.

He said that there was absolutely no indications that the patient, who died on July 12, could have contracted the disease after eating contaminated beef.

Sureda, who is also the hospital co-ordinator in the Balearics for all cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, known as BSE or mad cow disease, was refuting an article which appeared in one of the local papers.

He said that an autopsy was performed on the patient on the day that he died, and the age and symptoms were different to those which are characteristic of BSE.

The hospital believes that the patient, aged 68, suffered from Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, an illness known for the past 100 years and which affects one person in a million.

Sureda added that there is usually one case a year in the Balearics. It affects persons aged between 60 and 70 and causes memory loss leading to a dementia which develops very rapidly, unlike BSE, whose victims are often under the age of 40, suffer from hallucinations and other mental disturbances of a psychotic nature.

Sureda pointed out that there had been no cases of mad cow disease in humans in Spain, and added that it was improbable that the analyses which are being conducted in Alcorconon on the Peninsula, where samples have been sent, could indicate a possible case of BSE.

Sureda said that the encephalogram and other tests performed on the patient were also negative.
However, he did admit that there had been an error in the classification of the remains of the autopsy, which caused alarm among hospital staff because of the danger of a possible contagion. This, however, was ruled out when it was discovered that the brain had been desinfected with formic acid. The management of Son Dureta confirmed this two days ago to hospital staff, who were also informed that there was “no risk of contagion.”

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