Pathologist dies of suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad cow) disease

| March 31, 2009
Story courtesy of Kathlyn Stone at Flesh & Stone.
A Spanish pathologist who studied Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad cow) disease died Saturday. His colleagues suspect he contracted the disease from exposure to infected human tissue.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (mad cow) research pathologist Antonio Ruiz Villaescusa died Sat., March 28, from the disease. Colleagues suspect he may have contracted the disease from exposure to infected human tissue, according to the Barcelona Reporter newspaper.

Ruiz headed the department of pathology at the University Hospital in Madrid and was studying whether the disease is passed on to people who have been exposed to infected tissue.

The head of the pathology department at the Fundación Alcorcón, Dr. Radish, will perform an autopsy to clarify the cause of death and the final results will be announced in about a month, according to the Spanish news site.

Ruiz was recognized internationally for his study in the fields of neuropathology and anatomopatología, and devoted much of his professional life to the study of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare and invariably fatal brain disorder, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the United States. There is currently no single diagnostic test for the disease. The only way to confirm a Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosis is by brain biopsy or autopsy.

Category: General Healthcare News

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  1. I break down Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) into four categories: heritable, sporadic, iatrogenic, and variant. The variant form (vCJD)is so-called “mad cow disease”. I guess we’ll have to wait for the autopsy results to definitively determine whether or not Dr. Villaescusa died from CJD. Once that’s determined, molecular studies will be required to find out which type of CJD he had. By far, the most common type is sporadic. But given the nature Dr. Villaescusa’s research, one would guess that his CJD is of the iatrogenic type.