Press Release

August 21, 2007


State public health department reports NO Mad Cow Disease cases in Illinois

Cases of human brain-wasting disease often confused and misreported as BSE, more commonly referred to as Mad Cow Disease  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials report today there are no confirmed or suspected cases of a type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in Illinois, commonly referred to as human mad cow disease. CJD is a rare, fatal brain disorder that causes mental deterioration and a variety of neurological symptoms, which usually leads to death within a year of onset.

There are various forms of CJD. In approximately 85 percent of CJD cases, the cause is unknown. These cases are referred to as sporadic CJD. Another form, called variant CJD, linked to the consumption of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) contaminated beef, has not been identified in Illinois. Other forms include genetic and acquired CJD. There is approximately one CJD case per one million people. Contact between people does not present a risk of transmission of any form CJD. The disease is not spread through the air or by touching someone with CJD. All forms are fatal.

Due to rules governing patient confidentiality in Illinois, IDPH cannot comment on the medical condition of any patient. However, based on investigations of reports received from local health departments, physicians, hospitals, coroners and medical examiners, IDPH confirms there are no suspected or confirmed cases of variant CJD in Illinois.

Diagnosis of different forms of CJD, including variant CJD, is based on patient history, clinical exam and lab tests.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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