Two people, both from Tampa, have been reported to Hillsborough County health officials as having the prion disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

Hillsborough County, Florida Image/David Benbennick
Hillsborough County, Florida
Image/David Benbennick

The Hillsborough County Health Department reports two cases from Jan. to Jun. 2015. This compares to just one case reported during all of 2014.

LISTEN: Prion diseases and the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation

It is not reported how the prion was contracted or the current condition of the individuals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Classic CJD is a human prion disease. It is a neurodegenerative disorder with characteristic clinical and diagnostic features. This disease is rapidly progressive and always fatal. Infection with this disease leads to death usually within 1 year of onset of illness.

Classic CJD has been recognized since the early 1920s. The most common form of classic CJD is believed to occur sporadically, caused by the spontaneous transformation of normal prion proteins into abnormal prions. This sporadic disease occurs worldwide, including the United States, at a rate of roughly one case per 1 million population per year, although rates of up to two cases per million are not unusual.

In the United States this translates to 250-300 new cases per year.

The risk of CJD is higher in older persons; in those 60 years of age and older, the average annual rate has been approximately 4.6 cases per million.

Whereas the majority of cases of CJD (about 85%) occur as sporadic disease, a smaller proportion of patients (5-15%) develop CJD because of inherited mutations of the prion protein gene. These inherited forms include Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome and fatal familial insomnia.

To learn more about CJD and other prion diseases, or to help or find support– visit the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation

Related news: 

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Legionnaires’: ‘Three additional cases identified, two additional deaths reported” 

Los Angeles County child contracts plague while visiting Yosemite National Park 

West Nile virus cases rising nationally