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New Hampshire man may have died of rare brain disease
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Public health officials believe a man in New Hampshire has died of a rare, degenerative brain disease, and there's a chance others may have been exposed.
At least 13 others in multiple states were exposed to the fatal illness through surgical equipment.
Officials are 95 percent certain that the man, patient zero, died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
The hospital says there was no diagnosis at the time of surgery, and standard sterilization protocols are not enough to kill the tiny proteins that cause the disease.
Still, they say the risk is minimal.
"There is no further risk of exposure in New Hampshire, for those patients, for any other patients here at CMC, or for anybody outside the community," said Dr. Jose Montero, with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
Several potentially exposed patients have already hired attorneys.
In the meantime, neurosurgery at Catholic Medical has been stopped until an autopsy report confirms the man died of CJD.