In Canada, rare case of brain-eating bacteria found in grilled cheese sandwiches, raising CDC questions about CTE

A new alert by Ontario’s public health system warned of rare cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare brain disease caused by a microscopic form of a protein called CJD. Four people are suspected to have contracted the disease by eating grilled cheese sandwiches, although the conditions haven’t been definitively proven.

And indeed, the Toronto Globe and Mail has found that of the four patients, one died earlier this month at the Elgin County Hospital in Listowel, Ontario. But there have been 299 suspected cases over the past year, with 109 confirmed cases of the disease in 2018.

These cases are under surveillance, and the Centre for Disease Control in Ottawa told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that it “has a clinical team focused on this known infectious agent” in Canada, and that the risk of contracting the disease is “very, very low.”

This case has also encouraged debate over whether to expand the definition of a non-disease-associated brain-amplifying disorder known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CTE, which people with professional sports backgrounds such as football, hockey, baseball and rugby have described as debilitating, debilitating, and debilitating in sports playing careers. There’s even debate about the scope of the spectrum of neuropathology for CTE.

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