Between early 2020 and the end of May, 2021, there were a total 48 individuals who were identified as having some clinical signs and symptoms that were similar to those associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) yet presented with atypical characteristics.
These 48 patients were referred by three physicians in New Brunswick. Forty-six of the 48 identified cases were referred by a single neurologist and the two other cases were referred by two separate neurologists.
The 3 referring physicians in New Brunswick engaged the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance System (CJDSS) to actively investigate the possibility of human prion disease, but to date, all test results have been negative for known forms of human prion disease. Due to some noted commonalities in signs and symptoms and the lack of a confirmed diagnosis among cases, the individuals were categorized as being part of a cluster of a potential neurological syndrome of unknown cause by the main referring physician and CJDSS.
At the time of referral by their health-care provider, most of the individuals under investigation were living in the southeastern and northeastern regions of New Brunswick, around the Acadian Peninsula and Moncton areas. However, the investigation has not found any evidence suggesting that the residents of these regions are more at risk than those living elsewhere in the province. It is also noted that locations could be a reflection of the catchment area of the referring physicians. No other cases have been identified in other provinces and territories.