Mysterious brain disease similar to deadly 'Mad Cow Disease' kills five and is reported in 43 people

A MYSTERIOUS brain illness, similar to the deadly "Mad Cow Disease" has killed five people and has been reported in 43.

The illness is similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, (CJD),a rare and fatal brain disease, also known as "Mad Cow Disease."


Officials confirmed there have been 43 cases and five people have died in Canada, CBC reports.

The unknown neurological disorder appears to affects all age groups to be concentrated in the New Brunswick and the Moncton regions.

Health officials in New Brunswick are now trying to figure out how the 43 people contracted the mystery illness and what exactly is it.

The first case in the area was identified in 2015, the outlet reported but the numbers have soared over the years.

Bertrand mayor Yvon Godin, told CBC they are "very, very worried."

"Residents are anxious, they're asking 'Is it moose meat? Is it deer? Is it contagious?'

"We need to know, as fast as possible, what is causing this disease," he said.

While the investigation into the mystery disease continues, neurologist Dr Neil Cashman has a good grasp of what it is not.

He said there is no evidence to suggest to the illness being a prion disease such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. 

"There is no evidence, not a hint — even in the three autopsies that have been performed — of a human prion disease.

"That came as a surprise to me, frankly.

"So in essence, this is something new, and we need to get on the stick and figure out what this is," he said.

He added that due to the fact that the cases are limited to certain regions, the disease "fits with the notion of an environmental toxin."

 "A lot of scientific acumen will be required to pin it down to a cause," he said.

"It's possible ongoing investigations will give us the cause in a week, or it's possible it will give us the cause in a year.

"There's no sensible timeline I can provide on when we'll have an answer. It's just something that has to be the focus of scientific attention, and as rapidly as possible," he added.

While Cashman and a team of experts continue to research the disease, he advised residents to "stay calm" and carry on with their everyday routine.

"I know it sounds like a tired statement, but I would say stay calm, carry on," he said.

"We've got to figure it out and the Public Health Agency of Canada is in a good position to do that and come up with a cause … and then of course it can be ameliorated."

It comes as last week a disturbing report by CEPI has warned that deadly diseases could potentially cause another pandemic in the future.

 The report has stated that world leaders need to take serious action as there are 16 newly emerging diseases as well as 27 re-emerging diseases with pandemic potential.

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