A very disturbing Associated Press report about a rare set of deaths in the Fort Wayne area.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A rare degenerative brain disorder was suspected in the deaths of four people in northeastern Indiana during the past five months, health officials said.
Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan said the deaths were suspected to have been caused by Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. After the third death, McMahan contacted the state health department and asked that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention be notified.
Northeastern Indiana’s hospitals serve about 1 million people, McMahan estimated. Based on CDC figures of fewer than 300 cases a year across the country, the Fort Wayne area might expect one death from the disease a year.
Testing of brain tissue from two victims was planned as that is considered the only definitive way to determine whether a person had CJD. Health officials said the four deaths appear to be from classic CJD and not related to mad cow disease, which is linked to the rare variant CJD found in humans.
Pam Jacquay of New Haven lost her 53-year-old husband, John, to the disease in March. She said that within weeks after Christmas he couldn’t drive and soon forgot how to do common tasks such as dressing and shaving.
“One minute he could do something and the next minute it made no sense to him. … In the last week of his life he lost any ability to communicate with us at all,” Jacquay said. “This just wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen.”
She said she hoped health officials continue to investigate the reasons for the area’s number of cases and that increased awareness will lead to treatment for what is now an incurable disease.
State epidemiologist Bob Teclaw said he was not drawing any conclusions from the deaths in northeastern Indiana. At this point, “we’re in the wait-and-see mode,” he said.
Well, that makes me feel safer. Think maybe instead of “waiting and seeing” perhaps they should be looking at what all these people had in common? Like what food with imported ingredients they all ate, or what meat products they consumed?
UPDATE: This is passed along by one of my readers:
OK – mad cow – possibly through feed given to cattle here in Indiana via grain mills that also process venison. And – have they looked into the chronic wasting disease issue? That is a big bad TABOO subject here in Indiana because of the backroom political deals done by the current administration to accommodate canned hunt operations which are supposedy illegal on the books. Nevertheless, the Amish are raising shooter bucks to be sold for canned hunts and canned hunts are continuing and the DNR openly says they have “prosecutorial discretion” and do not prosecute on canned hunt violations. Obviously, you can see where a truck can be driven through the loopholes monitoring CWD. ALSO – NE (McIntosh/Reed) Indiana has two canned hunt operations that have violated various other permit issues and have been allowed to continue. All very interesting. SO – am wondering if the Chronic Wasting aspect is being seriously looked into. Let me know. I have been following this for eight years – the lack of agricultural/DNR oversight in Indiana on CWD and canned hunting.
Take a look at this link on Chronic Wasting Disease, which is basically a disease that attacks deer, in the same family of diseases as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Mad cow disease.
A bit more from the reader quoted above:
Originally, there were great plans to monitor for CWD – in Lake County, IN there was even an additional feel for picking up roadkill because CWD was reported in nearby Illinois. Most of those precautions have been done away with once the ten operations were allowed to operate because of a special court injunction. It just all went off the radar screen.
Yes, these cases can be sporadic – but the sudden appearance of these “sporadic” cases defies the odds. Venison is ground up and fed to cattle. We have rendering plants that do this. At first there were strict requirements for animal feed plants in Indiana that used venision (road kill) and the DNR even wrote the Feds a complaining letter because they were not able to monitor the rendering plants because the plants knew that if even one case of CWD was found, they would be shut down. So – everyone took their chances and it all just blew over. Maybe …… who knows.
Anyway, I have that letter that was sent to the feds and also the DNR said they would check thousands of deer for CWD and, of course, did not. I am by no means saying this is the reason. Not at all. But – it is a dirty little secret in Indiana. If everyone’s luck holds out, no one will get the CJD that would result from chronic wasting disease. The domestic deer are monitored minimally and only recently. The secret shooter buck industry works behind the scenes. The motto of the shooter buck farmers in WI was – this is in print (shoot shovel and shut up). Of course, prion borne disease cannot be sterilized or buried. That is the threat of it. Incineration of the elk out west that had CWD was astronomicaly expensive. Anyway, I could go on and on. Just some food for thought. Venison can be put in chili, etc – the blades used to cut through deer spines can be infected – no sterilization works. That is why the rendering plants did NOT ALLOW the INdiana DNR to come in and inspect. Interesting, no?