Two Vietnamese men have been hospitalized with symptoms of the rare degenerative brain disorder known as Creutzfeldt – Jakob Disease (CJD); however, a definitive diagnosis could not be made, according to a Thanh Nien News report today.

Image/United States Army Center of Military History
Image/United States Army Center of Military History

Confirmation testing for CJD is not available in Vietnam, according to the report.

The two men, ages 44 and 86, from Binh Phuoc Province and Ho Chi Minh City, respectively, were treated for symptoms and released. There is no treatment for CJD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. They are distinguished by long incubation periods, characteristic spongiform changes associated with neuronal loss, and a failure to induce inflammatory response.

The causative agents of TSEs are believed to be prions. The term “prions” refers to abnormal, pathogenic agents that are transmissible and are able to induce abnormal folding of specific normal cellular proteins called prion proteins that are found most abundantly in the brain.

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.