Unknown fatal brain disease in Canada, which causes hallucinations, puts doctors on alert

Americas04:51 01.04.2021(updated 04:55 01.04.2021) Short URL

According to recent information, more than 40 people in Canada have contracted a mysterious brain disease amid a series of cases whose symptoms involve memory loss, hallucinations and muscle atrophy.

Officials in the Canadian province of New Brunswick want to find out the causes of the disease, but experts say that with such a small number of cases, there are more questions than answers, and have urged the population not to panic, writes The Guardian.

For more than a year, public health officials have followed a group of 43 suspected cases of neurological disease in that province without knowing its cause.

Residents found out last week after a leaked document from the New Brunswick Public Health Agency urged doctors to be more aware of symptoms similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal and brain disease caused by malformed proteins known as prions .

“We are collaborating with different groups and national experts, however, at the moment, no obvious cause has been identified,” the document reads.

Canada’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob surveillance network has been on alert for similar symptoms that include memory loss, vision problems and abnormal movements, however, tests have not revealed confirmed cases of this disease.

“We have no evidence to suggest that it is a prion disease,” said Alier Marrero, a neurologist who leads the research in New Brunswick, adding that patients initially complained of pain, spasms and behavioral changes.

But between 18 and 36 months of monitoring, some patients began to experience cognitive decline, muscle breakdown, overproduction of saliva, and several patients began to experience frightening hallucinations, including the sensation of insects crawling on the skin, according to the report.

In 2015, only one suspected case was registered, but in 2019 there were 11 cases and 24 in 2020. Scientists believe that five people died from the disease.

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