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Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) - Minnesota Dept. of Health

"Variant" Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)

In 1996, a newly recognized variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), called "variant" Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) was reported in the United Kingdom. Epidemiological evidence suggests that vCJD is linked with the consumption of cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow" disease).

Individuals with vCJD tend to be younger (median age at death is 28 years versus 68 years) and have a longer duration of illness (13-14 months versus 4-5 months) than individuals with classic CJD.  Clinical symptoms and diagnostic characteristics also differ between the two types of human prion disease.

Variant CJD has been reported in 11 countries, with the majority of cases reported in the United Kingdom. Three cases of vCJD have been identified in the U.S., and it is believed that all 3 cases were exposed to BSE while living abroad.  Evidence suggests that 2 were exposed while living in the United Kingdom, and the third was exposed while living in Saudi Arabia

Updated Thursday, 29-Sep-2022 15:55:39 CDT