Monday, August 01, 2005

Fatal Probabilities

One in a million, one in seventeen thousand ... more or less the same. This is kinda scary...
TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Five southern Idaho women - four of whom have already died - have been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease since January, health officials say.

None of the cases appeared to be the variant type of the fatal disease, which is usually linked to mad cow disease.

Instead, health officials said, the women may have all developed the sporadic form of CJD, where the disease appears even though the person has no known risk factors.

The women - four in Twin Falls County, one in nearby Minidoka County - were all between the ages of 60 and 83.

"We do not think that there is any reason for the community to be alarmed about these cases," said Cheryle Becker, an epidemiologist at South Central District Health. "In our investigation so far, we do not see any common source of contagion between the women. We don't think there is any reason for people to change their eating, drinking or living habits. We will continue to investigate and inform the public of what we find."
Given the risk factors for C-JD (brain surgery, eating eyes of animals, eating brains of animals), I'm thinking sporadic cases are any for which they are clueless - kinda like a syndrome X where "x" can be pretty much any variable(s). A local news affiliate reported this story under the unfortunate heading of Four Die in Magic Valley. Whew, thankfully, I live in the Treasure Valley 'cause that's the kind of magic I'd just as soon do without.

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